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Case Study

Drin Road, Dromara, Down, BT25 2LE

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1. Assessment

A desktop study was completed on Drin Rd. The site was identified as being located within the Mourne’s AONB, however it is located within a landscape character area (LCA) with a lower sensitivity than neighbouring LCA’s to wind energy development. It was also on the extremity of the AONB.

Wind speeds were also assessed as being between 7 and 7.5m/s, meaning that there was an excellent wind resource. A site visit was completed to check access and electricity connections, both were favourable.

2. Application

Air Core agreed commercial matters with the landowner and a planning application was submitted in February 2011 following signature of an option agreement. The application was for a single 250kw turbine with a 30m hub height and 30m blade diameter.

Planning Service requested that due to the sensitive nature of the location of the application, a landscape and visual impact assessment was necessary in order for them to determine the suitability of the location.

Photomontages were completed to show how the turbine would fit into the landscape when built, below are excerpts from the Visual impact assessment.

3. Approval

The application was recommended for approval in January 2012, an application time of 11 months, this is above average, most applications take 6 months from start to finish, but due to the sensitivity of the location and additional visual information required, the application took that bit longer.

An application to NIE for grid connection was submitted on the 12th March 2012 and an offer received on the 13th June 2012. The offer was favourable and within the limits of the business model and therefore accepted without delay.

4. Construction

Construction commenced on site upgrading an existing access road to the proposed turbine location. Following this, ground investigations were completed so that an appropriate base design for the turbine could be completed to match the ground conditions.

The hole for the base was then excavated following receipt of the design, and a hard stand area of approx. 15m x 30m was formed around the base hole to accommodate heavy plant.

The steel and foundation ring was then placed and tied for the base and the concrete poured.

The base was left to set for 5 weeks, following which the turbine was delivered to the site and off loaded on to the hard stand area. The turbine tower was then placed on the base followed by the nacelle on the tower and then the blades tied to the nacelle, the erection of the turbine can be viewed on the video below.

5. Operation and Support

The turbine is due to be fully commissioned with NIE grid connection in place before Christmas 2013, unfortunately NIE do not provide an exact date for grid connection.

Once operational the turbine will be remotely monitored by the Air Core office and maintained by the turbine supplier’s official servicing agent, Wind Energy Partnership.

The turbine has a 5 year labour and parts warranty in place, the turbine will be serviced twice yearly to ensure it is achieving optimum output and therefore maximum income for landowner and Air Core.