In late 2013, researchers at NIRSA and AIRO completed a study examining local authority wind energy policy and strategies across Ireland with the objective of identifying commonolities and differences between methodological approaches for selecting preferred and non-preferred areas for wind energy development and the implications for achieving Ireland's renewable energy targets. The research was commissioned as part of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland's (SEAI) Sustainable Energy RD&D Programme 2013.
As part of the research project the team at AIRO have compiled all available wind strategies at time of publication in an on-line interactive mapping toolkit. This is the first time that all available local wind energy strategies together with information on existing wind farms, the national grid, wind speeds, setbacks to residences and nature conservation sites have been made readily available on a single interactive and easy to use mapping interface in Ireland.
An innovative feature of the toolkit is the presentation of generalised zoning type colours for wind energy development. Currently planning policy for wind energy is developed at a local level with some differing approaches to policy and zoning types between counties. Working through a project funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the NIRSA/AIRO team examined all of the wind energy strategies available nationwide and synthesised the varying zoning types in order to develop and present, in so far as is possible, a complete national picture of where onshore wind energy is generally 'permissible in principle', 'open for consideration' and 'not permissible'*.
It is hoped that the toolkit will over time be further developed and updated with additional data and functionalities and will be of use to planners, individuals, community groups and wind energy developers.
*Wind Energy Strategies included in mapping tool are based on status in late 2013. Some local authorities may have updated strategies since then. Please contact AIRO if this is the case.