Procter and Gamble has met residents near its plant at Gortlandroe over its plans to build a wind turbine to help cut energy costs. The turbine, which will have an 85m hub height, will cost between E4.1m and E4.5m to install and will go on land off the N52 bypass that the company will lease.
The company estimates that it would save them around E700,000 to E800,000 a year on fuel bills, just under half their total costs.
Procter and Gamble intends to lodge an application for the turbine with the local council during August. Providing it gets through the planning process relatively quickly, the turbine would be operational by the end of next year.
The turbine would be just under 450 metres from the nearest house.
“This clear commitment to supporting the continued improvement in the plant’s competitiveness is a reflection of the high quality of the people that work at the plant. This investment demonstrates the commitment of P&G globally to ensuring that the environment is protected for future generations,” said plant manager Bryce Freeman in a statement this week.
However, while there has been a general welcome for the plan, some residents, especially those closest to the turbine at Kilnasallagh and Richmond, have raised concerns over visual impact, noise levels, the negative effect on the value of their homes and shadow and flicker from the sails.
It was explained to the residents that around seven houses at the bottom of Richmond estate would be most affected by the turbine, with flicker and shadow hitting their houses at around 5.30am, and lasting for a number of minutes.
Following their meeting with the company last Thursday, the residents have requested further details, including a montage of how the turbine will look from their homes.
A member of the residents’ association told the Tipperary Star that while they were delighted to be involved in the process, they felt the information they had been given was vague. “Fear of the unknown is the biggest anxiety,” they said.
In its statement, P&G said that the move signalled its commitment to Nenagh and hailed it as another step towards its environmental vision for the site, having already achieved zero waste to landfill in 2012.
“The installation of the wind turbine will deliver over 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide at the site (equivalent to removing 3,000 cars off the road). The management of P&G in Nenagh welcomed the decision of the company to make the investment which both enhances its competiveness and its environmental sustainability,” the statement said.
The company, which also met local councillors and council officials as well as local businesses as part of its briefings, said that more information sessions were planned for the coming weeks.
The plant will also tap into natural gas when it comes to Nenagh, but it is not expected to be available to them until sometime in 2015.
P&G once employed around 500 staff at the Nenagh operation. However, between 2007 and 2009, some 330 jobs were lost, mainly to Lodz in Poland, when it switched the manufacture of Oil of Olay there. However, the company has attracted other to labels to its Nenagh stable, bringing the workforce back to around 250.