Ireland’s Airtricity has opened a £16 million (€23.5 million) 19.5 MW wind farm at Tappaghan, in County Fermanagh on the border with Tyrone. The project uses 13 turbines and marks the start of a £500 million (€725 million) investment in renewable energy by the firm, focused on Northern Ireland.

The group has already received planning permission for another wind farm in Bessy Bell, Country Tyrone, and plans for further projects are also in place.

Chief executive of Airtricity Eddie O’Connor said the investment was starting as its build programme in the Republic had ceased because “there are no support structures in place to facilitate the growth of this important sector.”

Meanwhile, the Republic’s ESB National Grid is reportedly confident of delivering 13.2% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010, under the terms of its EU obligations. Some 41 wind projects are under development and are all expected to come on stream with the next year or two, adding 616 MW to the 307 MW currently installed and operational at 36 sites.