ESB will decommission Derrybrien Wind Farm

Galway Daily news Plans in the works for northwest Galway wind farm

The ESB has announced today that it will be decommissioning the controversial Derrybrien wind farm in Galway.

The decision to decommission the wind farm comes after an An Bord Pleanála ruled last month that it would not grant substitute consent for the development.

The ESB is the main owner of the 70 wind farm in south Galway through its subsidiary Gort Windfarms Ltd.

The wind farm in the Slieve Aughty mountains suffered a massive landslide in 2003 while it was still under construction.

This destroyed vast areas of forest and peat, and polluted waterways, killing large numbers of fish.

In 2019, the wind farm was found to be in breach of environmental regulations by the EU Court of Justice.

A €5 million fine was imposed by the court for the failure to carry out a proper Environmental Impact Assessment before construction.

Further fines of €15,000 a day were also ordered by the court so long as it was non-compliant. This has resulted in a build-up of more than €17 million in fines since then.

An Bord Pleanála’s ruling last month remedial works could not mitigate the “significant permanent residual effects” on the environment.

It also said that it was not satisfied that sufficient “exception circumstances” existed for substitute consent to be granted.

In a statement issued today, the ESB said that operations at Derrybrien were paused after An Bord Pleanála’s ruling, and that the decision has now been made to decommission it.