EirGrid, which is bringing 21st century infrastructure to the west, through a €240 million Grid West Project, has commenced consultation process with the Mayo public.
At the Environmental Policy and Agricultural SPC meeting on Wednesday, project manager, Alan McHugh said that due to the “massive resource sitting on our doorstep” by connecting the electricity generated by the region’s huge renewable energy resources, the west of Ireland will become more of a supplier than a consumer of electricity.
Plans are afoot to create a large amount of wind generators in and around Bellacorrick, and install two 400kv lines in and out of a Bellacorrick to a transmission grid.
Mr McHugh said that the project will be delivered in a planned and staged way, over five stages. Currently the process is at stage one, which is information gathering, and this will be complete by spring of 2013. Stage two will then select emerging corridors and by March 2014 the designing stage will take place. In 2014 an environmental impact assessment report will be completed and a planning application to An Bord Pleanála will also be submitted. Construction is hoped to take place in late 2015 or early 2016, with completion expected by the end of 2019.
Mr McHugh said that EirGrid has set up an office in Linenhall Street, Castlebar which initially will be open for two days a week, and open days will take place in the communities— with the first taking place in Bangor Erris.
Councillor Michael Kilcoyne welcomed the project, however, he said that on one hand the Government was encouraging tourism in the county through the promotion of the Greenery etc, and “on the other arm they are running pylons” through the landscape. Cllr Seamus Weir also raised concern about pylons “as no one wants these lines” near their houses. Cllr Michael McNamara said that this was a very positive project and he welcomed the fact that GridWest are consulting with the community straight away in order to get the message out. Chair of the SPC, Cllr Peter Flynn also agreed that the consultation process with the public is critical.