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SSE Renewables and FuturEnergy Ireland mark completion of Lenalea Wind Farm at official opening event in County Donegal

10 May 2024

(L-R) Ciaran Conlon, Director of Public Policy, Microsoft Ireland; Heather Donald, Onshore Renewable Development, SSE Renewables; Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D; Peter Lynch, CEO, FuturEnergy Ireland; and Noel Cuniffe, CEO, Wind Energy Ireland gather for the official opening of the Lenalea Wind Farm in County Donegal.

Local politicians, community leaders and supply chain representatives gathered in County Donegal today to attend the official opening of Lenalea Wind Farm, hosted by SSE Renewables and FuturEnergy Ireland.

The 30MW wind farm is a joint venture between co-developers SSE Renewables and FuturEnergy Ireland and is in the rural upland setting of central Donegal, around 10km southwest of Letterkenny.

Delivery of Lenalea Wind Farm has represented a total capital investment of more than €40 million by SSE Renewables and FuturEnergy Ireland. SSE Renewables is part of SSE plc while FuturEnergy Ireland is a Coillte-ESB joint venture company.

The fully operational wind farm comprises seven Vestas V117-4.3 MW onshore wind turbines. Under the terms of a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA) between SSE Renewables, FutureEnergy Ireland and Microsoft, the renewable energy produced at Lenalea Wind Farm will contribute towards Microsoft’s goal of powering its data centre operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.

In addition to environmental and economic benefits, the Lenalea Community Fund will open later this year, inviting the first round of applications for funding. A locally appointed committee has been established to oversee the management of the Community Benefit Fund. The final design and shape of the funding strategy will soon be going out for consultation, this is expected to be approved and implemented in late 2024.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D, who provided the keynote address at the official opening event in Jackson’s Hotel in Ballybofey, welcomed the completion of the project.

"Congratulations to all involved with Lenalea Wind Farm. Like all successful initiatives, it took leadership, partnership and teamwork to bring the development to this stage. SSE Renewables and FuturEnergy Ireland have invested €40 million in this joint venture onshore wind development and 35 people were involved during its construction, many who were locally based. The site will make a real contribution to Ireland’s 2030 renewable energy targets and assist in security of supply."

Minister McConologue Speaking at the event

Construction on the site located within the townlands of Cark, Killmansey, Lenalea, Kirkneedy and Rareagh began in May 2021 when the first sod was turned. Full construction began in June 2022, led by leading industry partners as well as many regional contractors employing a significant local workforce.

Supply chain partners included lead construction contractor, Omagh-based Adman Civil Projects, turbine supplier Vestas, OMEXOM who built the adjacent 110kv substation which connects the wind farm to Ireland’s national grid, supported by Glenturas, as well as EirGrid and ESB Networks who commissioned the substation. Over the course of delivery, the Lenalea project supported 35 construction jobs at peak in Donegal, adding value to the local economy.

SSE Renewables led Lenalea Wind Farm’s construction and will now operate the wind farm throughout its lifetime.

"As lead developer on the project, SSE Renewables is proud to officially launch Lenalea Wind Farm. We are grateful to the entire project team, as well as our industry partners and suppliers, for their dedication and expertise throughout the development. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the local communities in Donegal for their support and cooperation. Wind energy is not only vital in helping Ireland reach its climate goals, but also strategically important in supporting regional development."

Heather Donald SSE Renewables’ Head of Development & Construction (GB & Ireland)

"We are delighted to reach this important milestone on what is a landmark achievement, given that Lenalea is the first of a number of projects which we are jointly developing with SSER this decade in furtherance of Ireland’s 2030 climate goals. Lenalea’s health, safety and environmental record was excellent throughout, largely thanks to the strong working relationship with Coillte, adjacent landowners, local agencies and the community."

Mary Lynch Portfolio Director at FuturEnergy Ireland