This week on “Ours to Protect”, we were joined by Kilkenny man, Tommy Cooke, member of The Irish Wind Farmers Association (IWFA) ahead of the associations Annual Conference in the Lyrath Hotel Kilkenny on Thursday, 23 November, will be the planning process and construction of the grid for energy distribution.   

IWFA represent almost one hundred farmers and landowners. 

They say that it is high time Minister Eamonn Ryan paid more attention to onshore and less to offshore. They point to the great opportunity for community development throughout the country, working alongside offshore, but needing immediate attention from Government. Communities forming Renewable Energy Communities and locally owned, farmer-led 1 and 2 turbine projects, is an area that IWFA say the policy is supportive of but planning is not. 


Ireland has the worst renewable energy figures in Europe. We are at 12% of the energy generated in 2020, current estimates are that by 2030 Ireland will not reach 42% of all energy (not just electricity) from renewables. This opportunity is untapped with the planning and grid blockages impacting the development of onshore wind farms.


Members of IWFA make an important contribution to local economies and opportunities are being missed. The role of locally-owned community and farmer-owned wind projects in making our targets for 2030. 


Tommy Cooke, a founder member of IWFA and with over 20 years’ experience in the wind and energy industry questions the ability of Ireland to meet its future energy demands. 


Mr Cooke says, “The electricity system is not ready for the massive increase in electricity demand from the heating and transport sectors and neither is it capable of connecting the required new on-land generation capacity that will be needed to maintain security of supply at reasonable prices. We need to adopt a proactive approach to building a grid. This is essential to grow community projects. The development time and cost of a grid connection are risk factors that locally developed projects cannot sustain.” 


The conference brings together industry leaders, stakeholders and experts in the sector. Among topics also for discussion are price cap issues and the legislation around onshore wind projects. For more information and to attend the conference.