Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has said it is essential that communities are properly consulted about proposed wind farm developments.

Mr Rabbitte said there was a lot of misinformation and developers need to improve how they communicated with people about planned developments.

Speaking at the Irish Wind Energy Association's autumn conference in Galway, Mr Rabbitte said wind energy had the potential to create significant revenue and jobs for the State.

He said this could bring exciting gains to local communities, but it was essential that people in those areas had proper input into the planning process.

The minister said developers would face a rigorous planning process before any projects were constructed.

He said a national policy planning framework would inform the process and that companies needed to communicate directly at a local level about what was involved.

The conference has heard that €4.7 billion will be invested in onshore wind energy projects between now and 2020.

Chief Executive of IWEA Kenneth Matthews said it was important that communities were brought "on the journey" if the benefits from wind were to be fully reaped.

He said the revenue and employment benefits to the State would be substantial.