A Clare firm has lodged plans for a nine-turbine wind farm with turbines higher than Dublin’s Spire only 4km from Mr Trump’s new resort property on Clare’s west coast.
If the plan proceeds, 23 local farmers will receive an annual income through rental payments for the wind farm site from West Coastal Wind Power Ltd.
Mr Trump has long been fighting plans for an off-shore wind farm near his links course in Scotland and last week lost a UK court challenge preventing the wind farm from proceeding.
Now, he is faced with plans by West Coastal Wind Power Ltd for the 125m-high turbines, with the backers confirming they will pay Clare County Council and the local community a combined €5m during the 25-year operation of the wind farm. The firm has told the council it expects to pay €27,000 towards a community fund for clubs and societies in the Doonbeg area each year of the operation of the wind farm and to pay the council €175,000 each year in rates.
The 23 landowners who own the 155-acre site where the turbines are planned will receive an unspecified annual payment which will allow them to continue subsistence farming.
According to an Environmental Impact Statement lodged with the council, “this ensures that a considerable proportion of the income from the sale of electricity will remain within the community and within the town of Doonbeg”.
The backers of the plan quote research into wind farms from Scotland stating that “nine out of 10 tourists visiting some of Scotland’s top beauty spots say the presence of wind farms makes no difference to the enjoyment of their holidays and twice as many people would return to an area because of the presence of a wind farm”.
The nine-turbine plan is a scaled-down proposal of a 45-turbine plan that was rejected last year by An Bord Pleanala.
The plan created bitter divisions in the Doonbeg community and the golf club was one of the most vocal opponents, expressing concern over the visual impact of the turbines and the effect they would have on local tourism.
West Coastal Wind Power Ltd has been left counting the cost of their ill-fated plan with accounts filed by the firm showing that it was sitting on accumulated losses of €349,103 at the end of December 2012. Three of the firm’s four directors are based in west Clare: Donal O’Sullivan from Kilrush; Cathal Haugh from Doonbeg; and Michael Clohessy from Tullabrack.
General manager of the renamed Trump International Golf Links, Ireland, Joe Russell was yesterday on leave and unavailable for comment. Clare Co Council is due to make a decision on the plan on March 30.