Thursday, 25 November 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Wind Energy Guidelines
I thank the Minister of State for his response. He said peatlands can be damaged. He and I know that peatlands will be damaged by wind turbines. The Minister of State saw peat stability and the side of Shass Mountain. We built homes on floodplains in this country, thinking that we had ways and means of directing the movement of water. We cannot. The same is true of peat on the sides of mountains. The Minister of State knows it and I know it. People who say otherwise are lying through their teeth. I am not referring to the Minister of State, but rather anyone who says that.
I am also concerned about the developer-led approach to supplying wind energy. Why not have a community-led approach where we can generate goodwill and buy in and people feel part of the solution? All we have is people objecting. People do not want to object. They know that we need renewable energy, but when faced with the possibility of a monster of 185 m just 850 m from their homes, what can they do but object?
It is also worth noting that this is not just about scale. Leitrim already produces 64% of its electricity through wind energy. It already has lots of wind turbines. As a Green Party Minister of State, I ask Deputy Noonan to get involved and engage with communities as happens in Denmark and Germany. They have wind farmers. People feel part of the process and that they are contributing to mitigating the worst effects of climate change. Pitting the Government against communities and driving communities to the High Court for judicial reviews will simply stall the process and stop what the Government wants to achieve in the first place.