What we do
The step by step process below is
illustrative of the steps that Trenergy undertakes to develop a Greenfield site into a
fully operational wind farm. As you will see developing wind farms is a multi-disciplined
Step 1. Site Evaluation and
Trenergy’s initial priority is to
find a windy site. Sites are identified in one of two ways (1) Trenergy is
contacted by landowners who believe that they have a site that may be suitable
for wind farm development and are interested in having a wind farm developed on
the site and (2) Trenergy performs its own meteorological investigations and
identifies potential sites throughout the country where the average wind speed
is appropriate for wind turbines to be used.
The priority of identifying windy
sites may seem obvious but when one considers all the obstacles that may
restrict or indeed prohibit the development of a site, it becomes evident that
this is much more difficult than it seems. For example, wind turbines should
not be located too close to neighbouring houses, as set down by planning
guidelines published by the Department of Heritage, the Environment and Local
Government. There are also many other land use issues which become relevant
such as Special Areas of Conservation, visual impact, etc. The potential site
should be accessible enough to all for safe delivery of turbines and grid
connection. Furthermore, the location of the site relative to transmission
lines is also important as there has to be a way to transport the electricity
generated by the wind farm to the main power grid.
Step 2. Acquisition
Trenergy seeks co-operation and
unity of purpose with the landowner through Option Agreements, which will allow
Trenergy carry out initial investigations and assessments. If the site is
deemed suitable for development following on from these investigations then Trenergy
will begin the preparation of all necessary applications for consents and
requisites and also commence preparation of a planning application in
consultation with the relevant local authority.
Step 3. Planning and Grid
As most people will be aware, obtaining planning can be a very
difficult process. This can be for a variety of reasons. Even before an
application is made Trenergy will have embarked upon a serious commitment in
terms of time and money to prepare for the planning process. This often
involves the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is the document prepared by
Trenergy to describe the effects of the proposed wind farm on the environment.
“Environment” in this case, is defined as the natural and physical environment
and the relationship of people in that environment. This means that our EIS
will take into account the likely impact the proposed wind farm will have on
the land, water, air, structures, flora, fauna, environmental values at the
site, and the social, cultural, and economic aspects. Our EIS will describes
potential impacts, as well as ways to mitigate these.
Once our EIS has been completed it will be submitted along with the
necessary planning application to the relevant planning authority for
consideration. The application is subject to a number of important time limits
as set down in the Planning and Development Act, 2000 as amended. Once the
planning authority has had an opportunity to consider the application, which
may well involve a request for further information it will makes its decision
and decide whether or not to do one of three thing; grant permission, grant
permission together with attaching conditions or refuse permission.
Depending on the size and nature of the project, planning authorities
may wish to impose conditions on the development ranging from limited
monitoring of different aspects of the development after proposed wind farm’s
commissioning to the regulation of construction transport access.
If the planning authority decides to refuse permission Trenergy will
then assess the reasons for refusal and consider whether or not it will appeal
the matter to An Bord Pleanála.
It is not merely enough to obtain planning permission for a wind farm
development. It is equally as important to have the necessary consents to
export the electricity produced. For Trenergy to connect the proposed wind farm
to the national grid it is necessary to submit a connection application to
Eirgrid or ESB Networks.
Once our connection application has been made it becomes subject to
group processing with other connection applications through a series of
successive “Gates”. Renewable generator applications are processed in a “Gate”
system whereby all applications that have met the defined criteria are
processed in one batch. Based on their level of interaction and geographic
location, the applications within the Gate are divided into specific groups by
the TSO and DSO for processing purposes. Within each group there are subgroups
of applications. The system operators study the groups and assess their overall
impact on the electrical system. The system operator then identifies the
connection assets required for each group before connecting that group to the
Unfortunately for Greenfield sites that are not currently within the
Gate processing system, there could be significant long term delays in getting
connections through the current connection process. While Trenergy would still
be interested in talking to owners who feel that their lands could be developed
into wind farms we would look to reflect this significant long term delay in
any agreement between the parties.
Step 4. Construction
Once Trenergy has obtained the necessary consents i.e. planning
permission and grid connection the only matter remaining before the site can
become operational is the construction of the development. Trenergy has a
dedicated and experienced team of engineers and project managers to manage and
construct the development. The construction process occurs around a well
organised set of events.
During the construction of the wind farm the following works will be
undertaken on and off the site:
- Construction of on-site access tracks to facilitate the wind farm
- Provision of a temporary site compound with associated facilities for
the duration of the construction;
- Installation of an on-site concrete batching plant to facilitate
construction of the turbine bases;
- Trenching and cabling works to connect the turbines to the on-site
- Construction of the on-site electricity sub-station;
- Off-site trenching and cabling works to connect the wind farm to the
- The route for transportation of the turbines to the site is clearly
defined and well planned in advance of their arrival.
- Delivery of the turbines to the site will take place outside peak hours
to minimise disruption and will be carefully co-ordinated with the relevant
authorities and the Gardaí.
- Once on site the turbines are positioned carefully into their bases
with the use of temporary cranes/
- Following the necessary civil and electrical work to bring the
development up to a stage where it is ready for commissioning, final checks are
carried out to ensure that the project it ready to be energised and become