EirGrid is legally obliged to connect those who generate electricity. This means we must develop the grid in response to plans for new electricity generation, such as wind farms. There is a large amount of electricity generated by wind farms in North Connacht and there is more planned over the coming years.
The level of renewable generation is greater than the capacity of the local electricity network. This means we have to look at ways at improving the electricity infrastructure in the region.
Original and new proposal
Our original proposal was the Grid West project, a large scale development based on 400kV technology. However, by June 2017 the amount of planned renewable generation capacity in the region had dropped by half and Grid West was no longer required.
EirGrid announced in September 2017 that the large-scale Grid West project was no longer needed. We anticipated then that the reduced amount of renewable energy generated could be met through a smaller 110 kV development. That remains the case and we are now bringing forward the North Connacht 110 kV project.
What is the possible route and technology for this new project?
The start point for the North Connacht project will be at the Moy substation near Ballina. The end point will be either Tonroe substation near Ballaghaderreen or Srananagh substation near Sligo. Routes between Moy and the two possible end points will be identified at a later stage of the project.
The project will be a 110 kV overhead line or underground cable. If an overhead line is used the majority of the line would be carried on twin pole sets.
The development is at step three of our new six-step approach to developing the grid and consulting with stakeholders.
This process is detailed in our Have Your Say publication.
The first two steps identified the need for the project and a number of possible technology options. Step three involves selecting the best performing technology option.
Why is this project needed?
Ireland has a target for renewable generation to account for 40% of electricity consumption by 2020. This includes wind, wave and tidal power.
Although there has been a reduction in anticipated wind generation in North Connacht, there is still a need to connect generators in there . This can now be met through the development of 110 kV electricity infrastructure; not the 220 kV nor 400 kV infrastructure that was proposed under Grid West.
As the national electricity transmission system operator for Ireland, we have a statutory function to connect electricity generators. Subject to direction from the regulator, this statute requires us to offer a connection to the grid for those who request it. When an electricity generator accepts our connection offer, we have to meet their needs. This means we are legally required to develop the grid in response to plans for new electricity generation, such as wind farms.
We are now seeking feedback from the public, community groups and other stakeholders. This feedback, along with social, economic, environmental and technical considerations, will help us to identify the best technology option.
If you would like to make a submission on this stage of the project, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Project Manager, North Connacht 110 kV Project, The Oval, 160 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, D04 FW28, Ireland. Submissions for this stage must be received by 23 July 2018.
Members of our team are available to talk to you about the project at our mobile unit or our Castlebar office.
Do drop by at the times listed below if you’d like more information.
Mobile Information Unit:
- Ballina, 12 June, 10am-7pm; 13th June, 10am-4pm;
- Foxford, 19 June, 10am-7pm;
- Swinford, 20 June, 10am-7pm;
- Charlestown, 21 June, 10am-4pm;
- Dromore West, 26 June, 10am-7pm;
- Collooney, 27 June, 10am-7pm;
- Ballaghaderreen, 28 June, 10am-5pm.
EirGrid Office, 3 Upper Chapel St, Castlebar:
- 3-5 July, 10am-6pm.
Reminder: Step three does not select a route for the project. The selection of a route will take place at step four, following further consultation with stakeholders and the public.
For more information click on the following link http://www.eirgridgroup.com/the-grid/projects/north-connacht/the-project/
To view the project information brochure click on the following link