EirGrid has confirmed the start and end points for the North Connacht Project, a new electricity line that will connect local renewable energy to the national grid and reinforce the regional electricity system.
A series of economic, socio-economic, environmental and technical network studies have concluded that the line should run between the electricity substations at Moy near Ballina and Tonroe, near Ballaghadreen. The other option was a circuit between Moy and Srananagh in Sligo.
As the state-owned operator and developer of the electricity transmission grid in Ireland, EirGrid is obliged to connect large electricity generators to the grid.
In North Connacht, a large amount of electricity is generated by wind farms, with more planned for the future as part of the decarbonisation of the national grid. The level of planned generation exceeds the capacity of the existing infrastructure. As a result EirGrid will reinforce and improve the network to accommodate the additional power.
During 2018, EirGrid carried out the studies and consulted with the public and stakeholders in Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon. 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. This 110 kV line can run overhead or underground. If an overhead line is used, the majority of the distance would be carried on twin pole sets.
EirGrid spokesperson Louise Glennon said: "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."
The next step in the development of the project is to choose the best technology and to determine the most suitable route between the two substations. This phase will also establish whether the line will be overhead, underground or a combination of both, and formal consultation activities will resume later in 2019.
The North Connacht Project will replace the larger Grid West project that was originally proposed in 2012. EirGrid revised its previous plans due to the lower than expected amounts of wind generation in the region.
Interested members of the public are invited to visit EirGrid Regional Office, Chapel House, 3 Upper Chapel Street, in Castlebar. The office will be open from until Friday January 18 and members of the EirGrid team will be available to answer any questions on the project.