15 Aug 2022

Donegal County Council urged to examine hydro generating possibilities

'We know the limitations of wind energy and the oversaturation of turbines in the county'

Donegal Co Council urged to examine hydro generating possibilities

The Cathaleen's Fall hydroelectric power station in Ballyshannon

Donegal County Council has been encouraged to explore the energy-generating potential of hydroelectric power, one of the oldest and largest sources of renewable energy.

Cllr Marie Therese Gallagher tabled a motion on the matter at Monday's meeting of Donegal County Council in the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny.

She requested the ESB Group which owns and runs the Cathaleen's Fall hydroelectric power station in Ballyshannon to attend a council meeting to discuss the potential of hydro energy in County Donegal.

She said they needed to look at alternatives to wind and praised the long history of using the natural flow of moving water to generate electricity that already existed in the county.

"There are two hydro plants owned and run by the ESB group, one in Ballyshannon and one in Gaoth Dobhair. They were built in the early 1950s and  have been creating power for over 70 years and are still going strong."

She said she wanted the council to examine such alternatives and see if they as a council could promote the generation of power using hydropower.

"When you consider the topography and the amount of water we have in this county we should examine how the council could use such a natural resource. I know Údarás na Gaeltachta are examining solar power and maybe that's something the council could look into as well.

She added the council could examine the success of the two hydro plants with a view to see if such turbines could be used in other parts of the county.

"This move could enhance the environment and generate much-needed power as well," she said.

Seconding the call Cllr Gary Doherty said the timing of the motion was important.

"We need to open a conversation in this council about how we deal with climate change and the environmental impacts that will have not only in Donegal but in the national and the world. Opening up the conversation about hydroelectric power is something we as a council should be doing.

"We know the limitations of wind energy and the oversaturation of turbines in the county. We need to explore every other avenue that we can in order to generate the energy we in this county need," he said.

Cllr Gallagher suggested that if the ESB did not wish to meet with the full council they could meet the environment strategic policy committee.

The motion was unanimously agreed upon.

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