Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
One of the major costs in any rural community is energy. Conversely energy generation provides opportunities for economic regeneration and employment in rural areas. In recent years with increasing energy costs and a greater awareness of the environmental consequences of energy production there has been a growing emphasis on both energy conservation and renewable energy sources.
It is the Department's policy to facilitate the development of renewable energy sources. One of the key objectives of the Fermanagh Area Plan is to promote the sustainable development of Fermanagh. Accordingly the Department would endorse and support the formulation of a renewable energy strategy currently being prepared by Fermanagh District Council. Fermanagh has a rich supply of renewable energy sources which if exploited would reduce depletion of non-renewable energy sources, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and stimulate local economic development. Six potential sources are under investigation. They are :
- Biomass (Coppiced willow)
- Small scale hydro
Of these biomass production would appear to offer the best opportunity for the future in Fermanagh as its geographical position provides significant comparative advantages in this respect. For over 10 years the Department of Agriculture has been experimenting in Castle Archdale Country Park with producing energy from biomass with a short term rotation coppice process using willows.
With its many exposed upland areas Fermanagh also has good potential for the harnessing of wind power provided this can be achieved without serious detrimental impact on the environment or residential amenity. Approval has been given for the erection of 33 wind turbines on the slopes of Slieve Rushen and implementation of this scheme has commenced.
Fermanagh may also have potential for small scale hydro-electricity generation. In assessing proposals for such development, the Department will have regard to their impact on the ecology of rivers and fisheries interests.
As well as supporting renewable energy initiatives the Department is also keen to support energy conservation and would encourage energy sensitive siting, orientation and layout of new development, particularly in order to allow future energy saving technologies to be accommodated.
- To facilitate development of renewable energy sources in Fermanagh.
The Department's Strategic and Regional Planning Policies for Energy are currently contained in "A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland" published in September 1993.