An Bord Pleanála has given the go-ahead for a battery storage compound to serve a wind-farm at Muingnaminnane in the Stacks area east of Tralee, Co Kerry.

The application by Knocknagoum Windfarm Ltd, of Lissarda, Co Cork, is the second such facility to be permitted in Kerry in just weeks and it had been appealed by a local heritage group.

Battery storage compounds, involving lithium-ion batteries, partner with wind farms, capturing surplus energy during high winds, and releasing it back into the power stations when the turbines are slack. 

In coming to its decision to endorse the council grant of permission, the appeals board referred to national and local policies to "facilitate the sustainable provision of a reliable energy supply".

However concerns are being raised about "emerging technologies" such as these lithium-ion units in Kerry and about the whole alternative energy industry.

The county has among the highest number of wind turbines - around 400 - in the country and wind turbines are now twice the size they were a decade ago and have moved from uplands to lowland areas near homes.

Wind turbine proliferation in north Kerry was a local election issue. In the Listowel area accountant and anti-wind candidate John O'Sullivan garnered 438 first preference votes.

A protest by residents of Sliabh Luchara against the council decision to allow a 40-unit battery storage compound near Ballydesmond was held outside the council headquarters in May, at the last meeting of the outgoing council.

It had been appealed to An Bord Pleanála by the Lyreacrompane Heritage Group who raised concerns about fire, explosion and overheating.

The Stacks and Glenruddery Mountains have become "overshadowed by wind turbines in recent years," they said.

The appeals board has attached a condition that noise is to be in line with an assessment submitted with the application.

Meanwhile, Kerry County Council has promised to bring a report before the new council on exactly how it comes to its decisions on new technologies.

It told the last meeting it has "robust" procedures and where necessary it engaged external consultants.