The End of Community: Wind Farms

 

A press release that has been met with sharply divided opinions was released by the BSB energy group:

BSB propose community wind farm for County Waterford
BSB Community Energy Ltd. (BSB) is a limited company established by a substantial number (50+) of local people in the Bunmahon, Stradbally and Ballylaneen area of the county to promote a ground-breaking wind energy project which will be 100% community owned.
The project is striving to become only the second 100% community owned wind farm in Ireland, the other is in Templederry, Co. Tipperary. It is widely acknowledged in the wind renewables industry that the future of wind in Ireland will be dependent on communities taking control of these projects and this is exactly what BSB is striving to achieve. While a community wind farm is still a business, it is owned by the community and therefore the community will reap the rewards that this business generates.
Paddy Power, Chairman of BSB Community wind energy said “This is an opportunity for the communities of Ballylaneen, Stradbally and Bunmahon to take a positive step to reduce our carbon emissions as well as a €60m investment in our parish that will give a massive boost to local communities for generations to come. Wind Turbines need to be treated as something that brings benefits to a community and should not be feared. BSB is aware that noise and shadow flicker might be of concern to the community. Therefore, the turbines proposed are set back a minimum of 500m from residences and are using the latest technology to mitigate against these concerns. The Environmental Impact Statement being prepared by Jennings O’Donovan our consulting engineers will address these concerns in detail.
BSB propose to build an 11 turbine windfarm, producing up to 33MW of electricity, which is the equivalent of powering up to 17,300 homes (equivalent to approx. half of all homes in Waterford City and County). During the construction phase, employment will be created on a local, regional and national level.
BSB propose to provide the following benefits to the community;
1. FREE shares to community clubs, groups, schools and churches (Est at 80K per annum*)
2. Free shares in trust to a community fund for strategic community projects. (Est at 80K per annum*)
3. A FREE share for every property in the parish.
4. FREE shares with an equivalent dividend of an average electricity bill to every dwelling house within 1Km of each turbine.
5. Save a fund (approx. €10 million*) during the life of the wind farm that will provide the community an opportunity to finance another renewable energy project in the future.
Paddy Power said “It’s taking a long time to bring this project to this stage and finally we can now bring our proposed project to the wider community for consultation. Nobody has ever invested this sort of money in our community before or are likely to again. This is your windfarm and your opportunity to get behind this project.”
Community consultation will take place in the Barron Hall, Stradbally on Wednesday 16th November from 3:00pm to 8:00pm. Following feedback, it is expected that BSB will make a formal planning application within 6 weeks to Waterford County Council.
*Estimates given are based on potential revenues achieved with an 11 turbine windfarm and subject to change pending on number of turbines constructed, energy & carbon price fluctuations and power purchase agreements.

 

Let’s take a closer look at these claims:
“BSB Community Energy Ltd. (BSB) is a limited company established by a substantial number (50+) of local people in the Bunmahon, Stradbally and Ballylaneen area of the county to promote a ground-breaking wind energy project which will be 100% community owned.”

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It would be very interesting to see the list of names and addresses of these “local people”. I know of at least two of the major investors in this project whose family homes are a considerable distance away from the BSB parishes although they do have property in the parish. What qualifies you as “local”?

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Tipperary Energy Agency is the muscle behind this, and they are clearly not a charity. What is their financial stake in this?

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How is it possible then to be “100% community owned”? What does that even mean? BSB Community Energy is registered with the CRO as having a share capital of €100 000.00 comprising of 100 000 shares of €1 each. Does this mean that the two directors, Paddy Power and Harry Grey, will each get one share, along with 99998 other “local people”? Or will it be that a handful of people will own most of the shares (and the profits) and the community will be left with the crumbs under the table in return for a wrecked community?    bdb-energy-2  bdb-energy-1

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These are the sorts of questions that need to be asked.

 

“The project is striving to become only the second 100% community owned wind farm in Ireland, the other is in Templederry, Co. Tipperary. It is widely acknowledged in the wind renewables industry that the future of wind in Ireland will be dependent on communities taking control of these projects and this is exactly what BSB is striving to achieve. While a community wind farm is still a business, it is owned by the community and therefore the community will reap the rewards that this business generates.”

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The obvious question is that if these things are such a good idea, why, after more than 20 years of wind energy, is there only one in existence on the entire island? What the press release does not mention is that there have been a number of other similar projects and all have ended in failure (for example, Bere island, Cork and Cape Clear Island, Cork).

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To be fair, there are some other community owned projects but these are very small (for example, on the island of Inis Meain of the Aran islands – three small turbines (225kW) and Burtonport, Donegal – one 660kW turbine). These are owned by the locals and meet local electricity needs in their search for energy independence.

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The other issue of concern is that I have done extensive searches for information on the benefits to the good people of Templederry and I came up with nothing. No mention of any new sportsgrounds, parks, playgrounds, clinics, school buildings, community halls, etc. paid for by the profits from the wind farm. Have there been any profits? Have there been any tangible benefits to the entire community?

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These are the questions I would ask.

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“Paddy Power, Chairman of BSB Community wind energy said “This is an opportunity for the communities of Ballylaneen, Stradbally and Bunmahon to take a positive step to reduce our carbon emissions as well as a €60m investment in our parish that will give a massive boost to local communities for generations to come. Wind Turbines need to be treated as something that brings benefits to a community and should not be feared. BSB is aware that noise and shadow flicker might be of concern to the community. Therefore, the turbines proposed are set back a minimum of 500m from residences and are using the latest technology to mitigate against these concerns. The Environmental Impact Statement being prepared by Jennings O’Donovan our consulting engineers will address these concerns in detail. “

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It is remarkable that a project that claims to be community-based is planning to erect giant turbines within 500 metres of people’s houses when even the current Minister for energy has publicly admitted that this is an inadequate distance. Extensive research has shown that ‘inadequate’ is putting it mildly – he is the Minister after all – such a short distance is downright dangerous.

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History has also shown us that these are not community projects at all, as they tend to decimate communities with the in-fighting and a massive drop in property prices. As the multi-award winning documentary “Windfall” so clearly illustrated, communities have been devastated by the arrival of wind farms owned by either locals or the community themselves. Indeed, two prominent residents (and local employers) in the BSB area have already announced that they will take their five children out of the local school (probably resulting in its closure) should the BSB wind farm go ahead. They will most certainly not be the last prominent residents to vote with their feet.

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The following quote, describing a split community in Maine over a proposed community wind farm, has been replicated all over the world, including France, Germany and Denmark – the so-called ‘leaders’ in community wind farming:

“About 27 people spoke at the meeting, many of them familiar faces to anyone who has been to one of these meetings. The speakers were split almost evenly in each camp, as was the crowd.
If there’s one thing that was markedly different from previous meetings, it was the way that the crowd itself was divided, both physically and ideologically.”

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To describe these ventures as community projects is simply not true – they are driven by a few self-serving individuals who very often are not in close proximity to the proposed site and therefore do not stand to be directly affected by the turbines, but reap the profits. To offer to pay somebody the equivalent of their electricity bill in exchange for having their lives wrecked and their home (and most valuable asset) rendered worthless is deeply cynical, to say the least.

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As for carbon reducing – I would hardly describe the BSB area as a high carbon production zone, given its predominately rural locality – cow farts are a much bigger problem. On the other hand, massive steel turbines with mind-boggling amounts of concrete and cement needed to build their foundations are the product of huge CO2 emissions, never mind the contamination of the groundwater and the impact on the surrounding fauna and flora; and of course, the poor wretches that will have to live next door to these monsters.

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“BSB propose to build an 11 turbine windfarm, producing up to 33MW of electricity, which is the equivalent of powering up to 17,300 homes (equivalent to approx. half of all homes in Waterford City and County). During the construction phase, employment will be created on a local, regional and national level.”

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If this is a local community project, why is it necessary to produce enough electricity to power over 17000 homes? Why not just one medium-sized turbine to power homes in the BSB parishes (the achievement of energy independence being the goal, rather than lining the developer’s pockets)?

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What exactly will those jobs be and how long will they last? The turbines and supporting infrastructure are not manufactured locally, they will not be transported by local companies and once wind farms are up they pretty much run themselves. So what are these jobs going to be?

These are the questions that need to be asked.

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And finally, all those free shares, geared to make even an opponent’s eyes light up at the prospect of free loot. Firstly, one must decide whether you will make enough money to buy a new house elsewhere, when your own home becomes impossible to live in and impossible to sell, meaning you are trapped in a literal madhouse. Secondly, let’s look at the Templederry experience: launched in 1999, planning permission in 2003, grid connection agreement in 2007, started producing in 2012. Profits – who knows when?Hardly a ‘quick buck’ then – what is the use of “free” shares when they are not producing income? Thirdly, when mention is made of millions, what percentage of that is earned by your paltry share certificate – usually a tiny fraction of nett income, whittled down to nothing after tax. Is the money worth sacrificing your community?

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“Another community wind energy project in the pipeline at present is that at Templederry, Co. Tipperary where two wind farms are planned: a small fully community owned farm with three 1.3MW turbines and another of 40MW to be owned by a group of local farmers”.
(taken from “Catch the Wind – The Potential for Community Ownership of Wind Farms in Ireland”).tocatchthewind

It must be noted that the Templederry community aspect is a very small wind farm, but it was joined by a much larger commercial wind farm as part of the deal. The fact that the large commercial farm is owned by local farmers hardly makes it a “community project”!

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Even the wind energy supporters are not that upbeat about community wind farms. For example, in its publication, “Catch the Wind – The Potential for Community Ownership of Wind Farms in Ireland”, the Renewable Energy Partnership came to this conclusion after discussing the relatively few community wind farms in Ireland:

“Meitheal na Gaoithe was set up as a co-operative to promote the development of wind and other renewable energies in ways that will allow farmers, communities and other groups to retain the financial and social benefits of wind farms in their areas. It provides information and support to its members and highlights issues at national and EU level.
Until the end of 2003, Meitheal na Gaoithe held numerous workshops around the country supported by the Renewable Energy Information Office and involving international experts. In spite of high levels of participation the workshops were discontinued. Meitheal na Gaoithe’s chairperson, Tommy Cooke, says that the organisation took this step because of the losses that small and medium-sized wind farm developers had experienced as a result of failed planning applications and unsuccessful feasibility studies.
For example, projects that had succeeded in gaining planning approval were now at serious risk because they could not get Power Purchase Agreements, he added.
This meant that the developers were not able to apply for grid connections and their projects were impossible to finance. Meitheal na Gaoithe estimated that approximately €4 million had been lost by small and medium-sized developers to date with at least €1 million being lost on failed planning applications.
‘Small-scale community wind energy developments may have public support and are important for the development of positive public attitudes towards the technology however the actual mechanisms to deliver these projects have failed. The policies that operate to support small-scale renewable energy development are weak and favour large developers. In spite of the setbacks, we are determined to ensure that the benefits of renewable energy are made available to the rural communities’ Mr. Cooke added.

Apart from those minor objections – sure, it sounds like a grand idea.

About Neil van Dokkum

Neil van Dokkum (B. SocSc; LLB; LLM; PGC Con.Lit) Neil is a law lecturer and has been so since arriving in Ireland from South Africa in 2002. Prior to that Neil worked in a leading firm of solicitors from 1987-1992, before being admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa (a barrister) in 1992. He published three books in South Africa on employment law and unfair dismissal, as well as being published in numerous national and international peer-reviewed journals. Neil currently specialises in employment law, medical negligence law, family law and child protection law. He dabbles in EU law (procurement and energy). Neil retired from practice in 2002 to take up a full-time lecturing post. He has published three books since then, “Nursing Law for Irish Students (2005); “Evidence” (2007); and “Nursing Law for Students in Ireland” (2011). He is an accredited and practising mediator and is busy writing a book, with Dr Sinead Conneely, on Mediation in Ireland. His current interest is Ireland’s energy policy and its impact on the people and the environment. He is also researching the area of disability as a politico-economic construct. Neil is very happily married to Fiona, and they have two sons, Rory and Ian.
This entry was posted in BSB Community Energy Ltd, Dr Sarah Laurie; Steve Cooper; Bob McMurtry; Alun Evans, EU Renewable Energy 2020 Target, Irish Farmers Association; IFA; wind farm contracts, The Spokes of the Wheel; wind farms; Ireland; Windfall, Wind Farm Contract, Wind Farm Guidelines, turbines, flicker, noise, distance, Denis Naughten, Wind Turbine Syndrome; Professor Alun Evans, Wind Turbines: Esen Fatma Kabadayi Whiting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to The End of Community: Wind Farms

  1. Retiree says:

    11 turbines @ €2.5M each.
    Where does this €26m come from?
    Borrowed? From who? Will the “free” shares be on the hook for this?
    The free shares, what % of the Co’ s voting share do they represent I.i. can they stop the majority shreholders flipping/selling their shares to economic strangers/ min locals.
    How much will be paid to each of the 11 landowners per annum, does this rank higher than free shareholders in terms of payout? Is it estimated to be dependent on carbon price and energy prices. There is no price guarantee.
    Communities in Ballyduff know all about being hoodwinked into supporting a local wind farm but then got shafted after they signed a “no planning objection” clause for their small share, the Co. had been flipped at least twice leaving most out in the cold, they couldn’t object to having their houses devalued.

    Is there such thing as a free lunch? In your heart of hearts you know the answer. Beware.

    • Thank you. More questions that need to be asked at the meeting.

      • corcglas says:

        SoloCheck reports the following for B.S.B. Community Energy Limited as of 9th of November 2016:
        ● The company was set up on Wednesday the 8th of September 2010.
        ● The current address is Co Waterford, and the company status is Normal.
        ● The current directors Harry Grey and Paddy Power
        ● The directors have been the director of 0 other Irish companies between them.
        ● B.S.B. Community Energy Limited has 2 shareholders.
        Director (1) Mr Harry Grey (Company Owner)
        Address: Bunmahon, Co. Waterford. Age group: 70 to 74
        Director (2) Mr Paddy Power
        Address: Bunmahon, Co. Waterford. Age group: 80 to 84
        These are truly energetic gentlemen to be embarking on such an altruistic venture for the first time after already punching in their threescore and ten in farming. It must be the clean air in County Waterford. 25 years of operating profits should set them up nicely for when they decide to retire!

  2. Beware indeed,
    A Company is a legal entity, but not a person – its shares can be sold onto whoever wishes to buy it.
    Any agreement any local signs with a Company is with the Company regardless who owns it i.e. you will never know who exactly you are getting into bed with.

    The most important Questions to ask are “What happens if things go wrong, what will my liabilities be?”

    €20M+ is a lot of money, what if the energy prices cannot fund the Debt? there is only so many houses in Ireland with a limited number of lightbulbs all of which are getting more energy efficient.

    Will the lending institution call in the debt in the event of a default? will they sell to a vulture fund? Who will be liable?
    the company Shareholders?
    to what degree?
    Most loans are “All Sums Due” which is similar to signing a personal guarantee,
    will the loans be “joint and several”? this means anyone person can be liable for all the Debt.

    All journeys begin with a single step, in a life journey such as this you need to know the exact destination and know if all the financial forks in the road are roadblocked before you take a single step. Why would you otherwise. Everyone in Ireland, thanks to the Celtic tiger, knows what happens in a happy clappy financial environment.

    They say you should never go into business with your friends, why would you go into business with some of your neighbors who wish to profit by devaluing your other neighbors assets; that is a life journey that will leave some mess in its wake for generations.

  3. Pissed-off-Ringer. says:

    Fools Gold.
    A Person in Ring withdrew An Bord Pleanala appeal the same day that a An Bord Pleanala planning consultant recommended that the 2 turbines in Ring be refused. This meant that the County Council’s original permission to grant was valid.
    This person was acting on behalf of a group when appealing but apparently alone when withdrawing the appeal from An Bord Pleanala.

    I’m making no allegation however one thing I can tell you is that it has divided communities.
    Have nothing to do with them.

  4. If Wind Turbine are so brilliant in a community why are the locals in West Waterford taking ESB wind Developments Ltd to court (2016/178 mca & 2016/4209 p) over the 8 turbines in Kereen / Woodstock that were put up 18 months ago?

    I doubt if any wind developer press release will ever refer to this?

  5. Calling a Nag a racehorse doesn’t a racehorse make.
    Calling something a Community wind farm doesn’t a community make.
    Who are the 50+ local people involved in this Limited Co.? There is no evidence of 50+ people involved in the CRO lodged Accounts(488798). The only shareholders are Paddy Power and Harry Grey with Niall Phelan of HCS.ie as secretary. The Co. was incorporated in Sept 2010 and has been audited by PWC to date but there is no mention of 50+ locals – Who are they? Do they exist?
    In fairness to Tempederry, the locals involved there are listed in the original CRO documentation.

    How can the Planning Authority really know that it is a community effort with 50+ people involved when none are mentioned. There is a duty of care to a community from members of that community to let everyone know who is behind/proposing a development, the playing field should be leveled so that all can see the state of play, why the secrecy, why the cloak and dagger, what is there to hide?
    Put bluntly, if the 50+ local people reputably involved are looking to impose a wind farm on their neighbors the least they should do is step forward and make themselves know,
    if the 50+ are proud of their business and what they are trying to achieve make themselves know,
    if not then perhaps they should quietly disperse instead of issuing press releases.

    p.s. the CER energy generation application list states 80MW for BSB in Bunmahon, the TSO Ref is TG227 made on 11/11/2010. 80MW = 32 2.5MW Turbine, is 11 Turbines the thin end of the wedge or is this Ballyduff Part 2? The CER TSO document is here http://www.eirgridgroup.com/site-files/library/EirGrid/TSO-Connection-Offer-Disclosure-of-Applications-as-published-04th-November-2016.pdf

  6. BallyduffAraglinTallow says:

    It hasn’t ended well for us here in Ballyduff. It looks identical to how a large number of locals who had put some effort and money in were eventually swindled.

    Tread carefully.

    Why would you get money from Leader to buy wind measures when you have money in the bank from the monthly collections from the so called 50+. The 50+ have nothing unless they own and control the share in the company – they need to wake up and get some advise otherwise they will be skinned as well.

  7. Here we go again, what is wrong with these people. Why the urge to destroy communities, destroy relationships built up over generations, destroy friendships.
    Greed is indeed a terrible thing. 11 is only the start of it, they will keep coming back for more and more if they get a foot in the door in the first place. We would urge everyone in the greater area to fight these turbines, at the so called (box ticking) consultation, at the local planners in Waterford County Council, at AN Bord Pleanala level, and more than likely at High Court level as well. This is the start of a 3 year battle before planning is granted, the 50+ versus the rest of the community… for a few shillings (the few unequal pigs will make a killing from everyone, the 50+ and the rest of the community) Community my arse.

  8. Ronan says:

    Absolutely sickening to read their well-spun yarn. There is such an arrogance here, equal to and allied to the monumental greed which is ubiquitous in the developer-run world of big wind.
    Here in Connemara, people are only now starting to notice that turbines are popping up like mushrooms and they are asking why nobody did anything to stop them. Yet they still ignore us or throw their eyes up to heaven when we talk about the destruction coming down the line. Evidently I’m now known as a “serial objector”! Di you ever hear anything as mad…!!!

    • Wear that tag with pride, Ronan. There is so much spin out there, backed by corporate greed, that voices such as yours are essential to preserve sanity! You can be sure that big wind will do everything it can to blacken your name and cast you as the demented villain, but hold fast!

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  12. Pat Swords says:

    Caveat Emptor most definitely applies when the business model is completely unstable, based on political subsidies to a programme, which is technically, legally, economically and environmentally flawed. Those subsidies have already been slashed in many other countries, so that last thing you would ever want to do is own a wind farm (unless you are a semi-state and immune from financial accountability). So the business model is get the project up and running and flog it to somebody else, who has bought into the hype.

    So this happened all over Germany and when an accountant, who actually worked for the wind industry, analysed the ‘books’ on 170 wind farms, many of which were ‘community owned’, the result was sobering. You can read about it below, but should we be surprised?

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/wind-power-investments-in-germany-proving-riskier-than-thought-a-946367.html

  13. Thanks Pat. Distinct resemblances to the pyramid schemes of yore.

  14. Declan says:

    Did you know that the Templederry “community” wind farm is registered in Panama and an offshore company and was recently the subject of speculation when the “Panama Papers” were released? The whole thing is a scam.

    • Wow, I did not know that Declan. Something that needs to be investigated I reckon.

    • Paul Kenny says:

      Templederry Community windfarm is in fact registered in Nenagh Co. Tipperary and is entirely Irish based, as are the locals who have registered the company. The link to the Panama papers was a revelation to me and the locals behind Templederry when the panama papers leaked and related to one of the two loans used to finance the wind farm. Clearly anyone who wished to look at Templederry wind farm limited could in face see the registered address.

  15. Maureen says:

    Dictionary definition of a Ponzi scheme – a swindle in which a quick return, made up of money from new investors, on an initial investment lures the victim into much bigger risks.

    Take another look at this guff from BSB:-

    “Save a fund (approx. €10 million*) during the life of the wind farm that will provide the community an opportunity to finance another renewable energy project in the future.”
    &
    *Estimates given are based on potential revenues achieved with an 11 turbine windfarm and subject to change pending on number of turbines constructed, energy & carbon price fluctuations and power purchase agreements.”

    Almost dictionary perfect I would say!!!!

  16. Mossy says:

    Didn’t the local Waterford County Co. renewable energy plan restrict the amount of new wind turbines that could be erected in Waterford recently, was this 3 or 4 new turbines?
    If Waterford County co. refuse it will more than likely get appealed to bord Pleanala – how can the bord go against the local county development plan? If they do there will surely be grounds to go the the High Court, this will be expensive for everyone – Barristers don’t come cheap!
    It looks like the 50+ that have been paying into this for a long time now may well have missed the boat because of this new development plan, I wonder will they get their money back from BSB. This could be an awful lot of further expense and risk for no financial reward, I don’t want a turbine 500m from my house and will definitely be objecting but I feel a bit sorry for the 50+ people (a good few neighbors of mine) who may have been led up the garden path and have been relieved of significant sums to date.

  17. corcglas says:

    “Catch the Wind” provided early seeding for the fallacious concept of community ownership that has been perpetuated by the SEAI and NESC ever since. A concept that the publisher (REP) appointed a firm of consultants, CSA Group Ltd and its German partners BBB Umwelttechnik GmbH to research on its behalf.
    The practice of Irish reports based on commissioned research shows a disappointing lack of confidence in Irish engineering competence. This lack of confidence remains today; the report “Wind Energy in Ireland: Building Community Engagement and Social Support” compiled by the Taoiseach’s own pet quango, the NESC, was prepared based on a report commissioned from SLR Consulting Ltd in preparation for the Green Paper on energy Policy in 2014.
    A gullible public is at risk of a poor investment of their hard earned savings if the proposers front load the project costs, leaving an asset with a heavy debt burden to yield low operating dividends. Of course this is of little concern to civil servants with guaranteed tenure and defined benefit pensions.

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  19. Dunphy-Clan says:

    I’m totally against this development and will be objecting all the way. I’m not going to stand idly by and let these people destroy the value of my main asset, my home – no effing way, NO WAY.
    Mossy, I don’t have one bit of sympathy for the 50+, they have been conniving and scheming behind our backs for years trying to enrich themselves at the expense of their so called friends, neighbours AND Families. Some members of my extended family are involved with this but won’t even admit to it.
    I’m totally disgusted with this.

  20. Paul Kenny says:

    Paul Kenny, Tipperary Energy Agency:
    I find it very disappointing that a blog post of this nature is written, without any effort to ascertain the truth in advance by contacting me, or the people involved directly, and instead a negative post written that is a clear take-down attempt. It would be more helpful to the wider discourse if, at least, a discussion was opened, and an attempt to ascertain the facts in this case.

    This wind-farm is in-fact a genuine case of locals attempting to secure an economic and environmental return from their natural assets (wind). There is infact a currently open investment opportunity available to locals on an even basis (with the existing shareholders) – and the true definition of a community development like this is an open invitation to people in the community.

    I would urge any of the Local people reading this blog to maintain an open mind, seek out the facts themselves, talk to the committee of the development, be careful to read science that is peer reviewed, not industry information nor opinions of individuals. I personally believe this is a far better method of generating our energy rather than purchasing gas from Russia to finance their destabilisation of Europe or Coal that is accelerating climate change.

    Finally, Neil, i offer to meet you to discuss this or any other community project. http://www.tippenergy.ie has all my contact details.
    Paul

    Just a few clarifications:
    [Tipperary Energy Agency is the muscle behind this, and they are clearly not a charity. What is their financial stake in this?]
    Tipperary Energy Agency CLD is a non profit company limited by guarantee, not a charity. We have no stake in BSB community energy. We have offered paid consultancy support to the community group. Tipperary Energy Agency was established 18 years ago to provide advise and support to individuals, communities, businesses and the public sector on reducing their energy related carbon emissions. We work, on a fee for service basis, on energy efficiency, biomass, solar, hydro and wind. over the 18 years approximately 80% of our work has been on energy efficiency. our website http://www.tippenergy.ie has an extensive list of projects.

    [The obvious question is that if these things are such a good idea, why, after more than 20 years of wind energy, is there only one in existence on the entire island? ]

    The main reason for the lack of community owned wind energy in Ireland is the challenging nature of financing a grid connection in advance of securing the planning permission for the development. this generally is very difficult for community groups to do, and is the opposite of what is completed in Germany where many community windfarms do exist.

    [What the press release does not mention is that there have been a number of other similar projects and all have ended in failure (for example, Bere island, Cork and Cape Clear Island, Cork).]
    There are many other examples sadly.
    .
    [The other issue of concern is that I have done extensive searches for information on the benefits to the good people of Templederry and I came up with nothing. No mention of any new sportsgrounds, parks, playgrounds, clinics, school buildings, community halls, etc. paid for by the profits from the wind farm. Have there been any profits? Have there been any tangible benefits to the entire community?]
    As with all windfarms, the dividends to the share holders (in templederry’s case, individuals and the local community co-operative), is paid after a significant portion of the loans are repaid, which has not happened yet, neither the co-operative, directors or shareholders have received any dividend, but it will commence in due course.

    • Thank you Paul, for having the bottle to respond to my blog. I am not suggesting answers, but rather I am suggesting the questions that need to be asked and answered by the instigators of the project. I really hope you can make it to Rainbow Hall in Kilmacthomas on Monday night to answer questions, as I am sure that people have many to ask you. I look forward to meeting you on Monday night.

      • Paul Kenny says:

        Hi Neil,

        I think the choice of day is quite unfortunate, 2 days before the community group hold their meeting. It is disappointing that people who try to achieve something locally are often undermined. Why not postpone your meeting and let the community group have their meeting, share information and input. Then by all means host an alternate.

      • Paul, the local people asked us for the meeting, not the other way around. We have invited everybody, both supporters and opponents, to attend the meeting. It is your best opportunity to put forward your side and I would strongly urge you to attend.

    • Dunphy-Clan says:

      Paul, how significant are the loans? how long have the templederry wind turbines being spinning? when do you expect to start getting a return? Are the templederry turbine landowners getting a yearly return?
      Michael.

      • Paul Kenny says:

        Hi Michael,
        I would be happy to discuss in person, but answering questions about individual people’s finances is inappropriate.

        We have some case studies and articles on our website.

        Normally for wind farms, the land owner is paid a land rental equivalent to a small % of gross income (2.5-3%). A community windfarm may decide to do the same, or something different.

        Loans: Typically most small wind farms built by farmers or groups of locals (as opposed to large multinational/ utility scale), is funded by 3-7%of self raised finance, 10-20% of expensive “equity loans”, and the remaining is bank finance like a mortgage. The equity loans are what needs to be repaid before any money comes back to investors- as it is expensive and often is term limited.

      • Paul, this is the information that people need to hear on Monday night in the Rainbow Hall. I find it hugely significant that in a project that was launched 17 years ago, the ordinary shareholders (the community) have yet to see a cent of their return. In the meanwhile,what has been the impact on peoples’ lives., on property prices?, etc. This is why the local people asked us to hold this meeting, as they need to know this sort of information. However, they made it clear that they want to hear it in an independent venue, hence the Monday scheduling in Rainbow Hall. They also made it clear that they want to be in possession of all the facts before they attend your meeting on Wednesday, which is why the Monday meeting was set up (after a number of our community worked very hard to make it happen). I would therefore urge you to attend that meeting so that you can answer the many questions from a lot of very worried people.

  21. Pat Swords says:

    Paul

    You got on your hobby horse and twice took the high moral ground from the off:

    “I find it very disappointing that a blog post of this nature is written, without any effort to ascertain the truth”

    “I personally believe this is a far better method of generating our energy rather than purchasing gas from Russia to finance their destabilisation of Europe or Coal that is accelerating climate change”.

    Paul: I or others couldn’t care less what you believe, you can for all I care adopt beliefs related to not eating pork or practicing some form of carbon piety. However, those are beliefs you practice in your private sphere and do not force on others or expect them to pay for it; which is also a point our politicians and State apparatus would do well to recognise.

    There is no environmental doomsday out there nor even if there was a necessity to reduce carbon emissions, would wind energy be a remotely effective method to do so. These are the hard facts, see below, and I resent the manner in which you go around insulting other technologies, which are perfectly viable, because they do not meet the populist beliefs, which you see are there to give you a business advantage. If you were a responsible ethical person, your starting point and that of others in the same ‘game’ as yourself, would be to actual provided a quantified analysis. However, instead you expect your second hand beliefs, which you and others believe are trendy, to automatically give you an entitlement over others. They don’t, only compliance with the law by you and others provides you with entitlements.

    https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/clean-energy-what-is-it-and-what-are-we-paying-for/

    As Abe Lincoln said: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”. Abe would have laughed at how you take the high moral ground in differentiating between ‘peer reviewed science’ and ‘opinions of individuals’ – priceless in fact! It may be a shock to you, as some got a shock on late Tuesday night / early Wednesday morning, but an increasing amount of people are tired of the spin and hype, they want answers, in particular as to what is supporting these decisions with all their costs, taken by an elite behind closed doors. If you can’t answer the hard questions and instead only come up with tired old catch phrases, then your days are numbered. After all as many would now clearly agree with the words of JP Morgan “There are always two reasons, the good reason and the real reason”. So far you and others have completely failed to provide, even though you were legally obliged to do so, anything which remotely resembled a robust quantified ‘good reason’. The other reason, i.e. the real reason, we can figure out ourselves.

    • Dunphy-Clan says:

      to complete the Abe Lincoln quote: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, AND YOU CAN NEVER FOOL YOUR NEIGHBORS”.

  22. Ronan Browne says:

    With reference to what Paul Kenny of Tipperary Energy Agency is saying:
    Something was nagging at me subconsciously and I’ve only just become aware of what it is. Mr. Kenny speaks about personal beliefs and about saving the world from doom and helping communities – I’ve just realised that I’ve been listening to this well-rehearsed industry waffle for the last 5 years.

    Whenever asked a question, Paul, in true Big Wind fashion says either that the answer is commercially sensitive, or that he would be happy to meet privately. This is a prime example of how Big Wind stacks things in its favour. The massive wind developers worldwide are all cross-fertilising info between them, but us victims are cut adrift at every possible juncture – we ask a question and the answer is either no or talk to me privately; if people settle, rather than destroy their lives, they must sign a gagging contract. So each new set of victims starts from square 1, and by the time they are half way up to speed, it is too late. By the time they have studied up on this massive subject, the development has flown through local and into national planning and it is too late then and the victims realise that nobody is actually doing their jobs of safeguarding! On a related note, I think it is absolutely incredible that the local council is given the job of granting or denying permission for these massive industrial wastelands, without any knowledge or training whatsoever. And added to that is the carrot of €25,000 per turbine, PER ANNUM…!!! Sure how could these people be expected to safeguard us and our environment when they smell all that money and they’re told by the developers that they are doing God’s work…!!!

    So, I advise all and sundry to ignore the hurt pleas of Big Wind’s developers and their advisors and see them for what they are, hoards of ‘snout-in-the-trough’ vicious invaders, raping and pillaging. They will use every trick in the book to get what they want and we are vilified for attempting to stand up to them.

    The fight we are fighting now is a tough one. Yes, we are trying to save the present community and environment. But also the next generation who are going to have to stump up donkey-choking sums to remove the towers, nacelles and blades once the last investor in the chain goes bust. And worst of all, countless generations and the earth on which they live, as those 700 tonnes of concrete PER TURBINE BASE, slowly leach contaminants into the soil – that can not be undone, that slow-release poisoning of our planet.

    So, everyone, at your meeting on Monday, don’t be nice, don’t be gentle, don’t swallow their spin, their waffle, their bullshit. Don’t wait till later in the meeting – if you have a thought, a tiny little thing to say or add, stand up and say it. You won’t get this chance again. You may get others but not this one. So use it! Don’t worry about what people will think or say. This is it. Now. Not later. Not in a different voice. Not once you understand better. Not when you feel more articulate. Not when nobody else says it so you will. No, none of these thoughts should stop you. This is your local environment. This is your community. Be a NIMBY. Be a ‘Serial Objector’. If you don’t stand up to them they will continue to march on like the big diesel-consuming locusts that they are.

    In general, keep talking to each other and speaking out. I see people’s eyes glaze over when I mention wind turbines. Well, the more of us there are, the less peoples’ eyes will glaze over and the more those eyes will gleam with loving care and intent as we join together to save ourselves from these filthy abusers.

    Good luck with the meeting on Monday!
    Ronan 🙂

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