Ireland’s first urban wind turbine was switched on today at the Dundalk Institute of Technology by Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern.
The 60 metre-high turbine has been built as part of the Institute’s Centre for Renewable Energy, which was founded in 2002 to facilitate a move in Ireland from fossil fuels to renewable energy through research and academic programmes.
As well as providing electricity for the college, the on-campus turbine will also allow students to gain direct experience with the wind power technology.
The centre’s manager Dr Larry Staudt said the turbine project, which cost €1.1m, would pay for itself in eight years.
“The Dundalk IT wind turbine will be very useful in our new Renewable Energy Systems masters programme, while cutting our electricity bills in half,” he said.
“The turbine is being commissioned this week, after a one-month delay to replace an incorrectly supplied transformer.
“It will produce a small amount of electricity this week, and then commence full operation next week,” he said.
After a feasibility study the Centre for Renewable Energy was given partial grant funding for the project from Sustainable Energy Ireland, and planning permission was received in June 2003.
A contract for the turbine was awarded to Vestas Celtic Wind Technology in December 2004.