EirGrid has confirmed that its new 110kV electricity line will run between Ballina and Ballaghaderreen. The next step is to determine the route for the line.
The North Connacht Project, a new electricity line that will connect renewable energy to the national grid, will run between electricity substations at Moy, near Ballina, and Tonroe, near Ballaghaderreen in Co Roscommon.
The decision comes following a year of research, during which EirGrid carried out economic, socio-economic, environmental and technical-network studies and consulted with the public and stakeholders in Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon.
The option of a circuit between Moy and Srananagh in Co Sligo was also considered, but EirGrid stated that on the basis of these studies and feedback received, Moy and Tonroe proved the best-performing start and end points for the proposed new line.
The next stage in the process will be to determine the most suitable route between the two substations and whether the line will be overhead, underground or a combination of both. EirGrid explained that if an overhead line is used, the majority of the distance would be carried on twin pole sets
The North Connacht 110kV project replaces the larger and controversial GridWest project, which was originally proposed in 2012 to connect large amounts of renewable energy to the grid.
The GridWest project was met with a number of objections when large pylons were proposed to transverse large parts of north Mayo and was eventually scrapped.
“This new line will provide significant electrical power required for the future development of the region, including Knock Airport Strategic Development Zone, supporting the attractiveness of the region as a place in which to live, work and invest,” said EirGrid spokesperson Louise Glennon.
Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes welcomed the announcement, saying it was ‘another step in the right direction’ for the project, which, he said ‘will connect large amounts of renewable energy to reinforce the electricity network in the region’.
Members of the public are invited to visit EirGrid Regional Office, 3 Upper Chapel Street, in Castlebar where members of the EirGrid team will be available to answer any questions on the project until Friday, January 18.
Oweninny wind farm
Meanwhile the first of the 200-foot blades for the Oweninny wind farm development in north Mayo was delivered to the site early yesterday (Monday) morning. The huge cargo made its way from Killybegs in Co Donegal and travelled through Ballina and Crossmolina late on Sunday night, with gardaí providing an escort through urban centres. Streets were closed to traffic as the large vehicles slowly made their way through the north Mayo towns.
The Oweninny wind farm is being developed by the ESB and Bórd na Mona. It will be the largest windfarm developed in Mayo, with 61 wind turbines to be erected on the site.
The rest of the large blades and the turbines will be transported to the site over this month and next.