Planning permission for turbines to bring clean energy to Limerick

Thomond Weir. Photo: Sasa Novak

LIMERICK City and County Council has granted planning permission to clean energy developer GKinetic to deploy three hydrokinetic turbines upstream of Thomond Weir.

The aim of the project is to generate clean energy from the River Shannon and contribute towards a positive energy block as part of the +CityxChange project.

Council approval follows extensive engagement with local community groups and other users of the river including boat clubs, rowing clubs, swimming event organisers as well as search and rescue, and emergency services.

The next stage in the process is to secure a foreshore licence.

GKinetic chief executive Vincent McCormack said the grant of planning was a huge milestone and was testament to the fact that Limerick supports innovation in the ways that matter the most.

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“This project offers an incredible opportunity for the entire Limerick region. The turbines will generate a predictable supply of clean energy at a time when energy prices and volatility have never been higher on the agenda,” Mr McCormack explained.

“The end goal is that a renewable energy community will come together to own and operate the turbines with the energy produced putting Limerick on the global map as a pioneer of clean energy generation from free-flowing water.

“The planning process involved a large body of environmental research on both the device and the site and underlines the innocuous nature of the installation. Ensuring no negative impacts on the natural wildlife and environment is, and continues to be, of paramount importance.

“A six month demonstration of one of the devices funded by CityxChange was completed in 2022 in an effort to accelerate the planning and regulatory processes. Results and data from this deployment helped address many of the environmental and safety concerns that cropped up during the planning process.

“The turbines unique design, similar to a small boat being deployed on an anchor or mooring, mean they can be easily moved, stopped by remote control connectivity and pose no harm to the environment based on all completed studies to date,” Mr McCormack added.

Limerick City and County Council will host an event on Wednesday, March 8 to discuss the next steps in the process. Anyone interested in setting up and being part of a Renewable Energy Community (REC) that could own and operate the generators is asked to attend.