A wind energy development co-operative in County Clare plans to construct one of Ireland’s largest wind farms.

Subsequent to obtaining planning approval and permission for grid connection, West Clare Renewable Energy (WCRE) says it hopes to construct 30 3MW wind turbines on the slopes of Mount Callan, a 391m-high mountain located between Ennis and Miltown Malbay.

The company claims the proposed €200m (£175m) project would be capable of generating enough electricity to power every home and business in County Clare, as well as meeting the Limerick Clare Energy Agency’s 2010 targets for emissions reductions and renewable energy production.

The community-based scheme is expected to provide up to 300 jobs during the construction phase.

WCRE is comprised of renewable energy firm West Clare Renewables and 30 farm families who collectively own 3,000 acres of primarily upland properties on Mount Callan.

Company chairman and Clare-based entrepreneur, Padraig Howard, pointed out that Mount Callan offered the perfect combination of wind resource, transmission lines and available land for the wind farm.

He said: 'We have employed what we believe are the leading environmental and planning experts, who have carried out detailed wildlife, geological and hydrological studies on site at Mount Callan over the last three years. Their reports have confirmed that from an environmental perspective Mount Callan is a suitable location for a wind farm development. A detailed environmental impact study is to be submitted with the planning application.'

Howard, who is a member of the newly launched Spirit of Ireland Initiative, added that Clare is also the only county on the western seaboard of Ireland with the existing electricity grid capacity to accommodate the additional renewable energy power.