16 September 2022
By Elaine Murphy
7.2 million was paid by Cork wind farms in commercial rates to Cork County Council in 2022, according to a new report published this week by Wind Energy Ireland. The Powering Cork report, which outlines the positive impacts that wind energy has had across the county of Cork, also found that Cork communities received €437,000 in direct community benefit funding in 2020.
Powering Cork highlights examples of wind farms creating employment opportunities, supporting rural communities and investing in the local economy.
Launching the report earlier this week, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence and TD for Cork South-Central, Simon Coveney said: “It has never been more vital that we utilise our wind resources in Ireland to create renewable energy and ensure the security of our own energy supply. Alongside moving to greater energy independence, onshore and offshore wind present significant opportunities in Cork and across Ireland in job creation, investment in the local economy and rural and coastal community support. Cork’s growing wind sector can play a vital role in helping us to achieve our national renewable energy targets set out in the Climate Action Plan.”
Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, said: “Wind farms in Cork are creating jobs, supporting rural communities and investing in Cork’s economy. An enormous opportunity now exists for a whole new industrial sector to emerge in Cork – a wind energy sector which can benefit everyone.”
The key findings of the report include:
- Wind farms in Cork paid approximately €7.2 million annually in commercial rates to Cork County Council in 2022
- Cork communities received €437,000 in direct community benefit funding in 2020
- Cork is increasingly a hub for major Irish and international wind energy companies
Noel Cunniffe continued: “Powering Cork tells the stories of the people, communities and businesses in Cork benefitting from the wind industry. The funds provided in rates help Cork County Council to provide vital public services. But the report also looks to the future, when offshore wind energy will be the key driver of Ireland’s economic strategy, and provide opportunities for harbours like Cork Harbour, Castletownbere and Bantry.”
Powering Cork jobs
Powering Cork tells some of the stories of the local jobs created for local people by the wind industry.
John Lyons, Community Liaison Officer, proposed Ballinagree Wind Farm (north of Macroom) said: “My community liaison job allows me to combine my passion for community with my work. Since joining FuturEnergy Ireland I’ve spent 3 years meeting the community and building relationships. Building mutual trust which leads to successful outcomes for local people and the proposed wind farm is important to me.”
Sarah Hayes, Statkraft said: “I studied at UCC. Working in central Cork with Statkraft means I’ve been able to put down roots in Cork. I have had endless opportunities to continue to learn and develop my career, working with talented people towards the common goal of a greener future.”
Powering Cork communities
Wind energy is supporting communities, voluntary organisations and schools across Cork.
Susan Morton, Ballyvourney Tidy Towns said: “The Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund has positively impacted the community, we were able to do projects which we could not have afforded otherwise. This fund has supported us to create an inclusive, enjoyable space in our community which fosters social inclusion and physical and mental well-being.”
Timo Shinnors, Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Club said: “With the support of Castlepook Wind Farm Community Fund we were able to buy a timing system which allows us to run events that get local members out on their bikes, support the development of mountain bike talent to compete on the world stage and bring competitors to beautiful Ballyhoura, from all over the country.”
Powering Cork’s future
Over the next 10 years Ireland will connect a new generation of offshore wind farms, providing enormous amounts of clean energy to power homes, farms and businesses. Cork can be central to Ireland’s offshore wind energy sector.
Noel Cunniffe concluded: “Having both Irish indigenous companies and international companies, with long histories in renewable energy, choosing to be based in Cork and focusing on Irish renewables is a testament to the future opportunities which exist in in Cork.”
About Wind Energy Ireland
Wind Energy Ireland is the representative body for the Irish wind industry, working to promote wind energy as an essential, economical and environmentally friendly part of the country’s low-carbon energy future.