Shooting the breeze at County Limerick wind farm

by Alan Jacques

Pupils from Killoughteen National School at the launch of the ESB Open Day in Tournafulla.
Pupils from Killoughteen National School at the launch of the ESB Open Day in Tournafulla.

TOURNAFULLA Wind Farm in County Limerick, which has the capacity to power 4,900 homes, is open to the public this Saturday, June 20, in an effort to show people the benefits of wind energy.

The open day is happening as part of the celebrations to mark Global Wind Day 2015 with SSE Airtricity, Ireland’s largest renewable energy generator, also hosting the 5-kilometre Tournafulla Wind Farm Run.

Wind capacity in Ireland has doubled over the last five years and last year accounted for 18 per cent of electricity generated in 2014, powering more than 1.5 million households per year and reducing Ireland’s dependency on foreign energy, which currently costs €6 billion per year.

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CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), Kenneth Matthews cited Global Wind Day as an ideal opportunity for those wishing to discover more about the power and possibilities of wind in Ireland to experience the industry first hand.

“Wind energy is Ireland’s fastest growing energy source but also our cleanest, most cost effective and most abundant source of indigenous renewable energy,” said Mr Matthews.

“In over 20 years as an industry in Ireland we have always encouraged open and honest discussion and providing access to wind farms right around the country is an open invitation to those interested in learning more about the real impact to come along and see for themselves. We would encourage the public to take up that invitation,” he added.

Tournafulla site operator, Sean Carter said he was looking forward to the open day, which is being held in aid of the Children’s Ark Unit at University Hospital Limerick.

“The Children’s Ark is a wonderful facility, and we’re hoping for a big turnout to raise vital funds for its future. It’s a picturesque course for the runners, and I’m expecting the event to be a lot of fun,” said Sean.

Other events on the day will include a ‘walk and talk’ where guided tours will be given to visitors by the wind farm operators.