Dublin's £18m green space uses wind to generate its power

A EUR20m (£18.1m) parks project in Dublin has incorporated five wind turbines to allow the green space to be energy self-sufficient.

The 22ha Father Collins Park opened last year in the North Fringe area, which includes the new towns of Clongriffin and Belmayne.

The Argentinian firm Abelleyro + Romero designed the park, with the multidisciplinary firm Cunnane Stratton Reynolds carrying out landscape architecture.

Dublin City Council's senior executive parks superintendent Maryann Harris explained that it might be possible to make money from the energy produced.

However, she pointed out that in Britain, parks could get a better deal than in Ireland because of the UK Government's feed-in tariffs, which provide financial incentives for small-scale energy producers.

"Currently less than 0.1% of renewables capacity is achieved on public land," she said. "But an ethical consideration is whether green spaces should be profit-making. However, parks don't make a lot of income generally so we do have to find new ways."

The new park and the commitment to providing energy is part of Dublin City Council's Climate Change Strategy 2008-12.

The turbines provide renewable energy for the lighting, water-pumping system, changing rooms and maintenance depot.

As well as the five wind turbines, which each stand 32.5m tall, Father Collins Park includes two play grounds, a skate park, a stage and landscaped amphitheatre and six fitness stations positioned around a circuit track.

A Friends of Father Collins Park group has been formed, added Harris, and the turbines have been well received by residents.

"The landscape in the area is very flat and nondescript," she explained. "The wind turbines are something of a magnet for people in the area."

In May 2010, real-time information will be provided on the city council's website showing how much energy is generated as well as the park's contribution to annual carbon dioxide savings for Dublin.

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