Eirgrid identifys potential corridors for new transmission line

This week Eirgird published a significant report on the Grid West project, entitled the Stage 1 Report, and is now encouraging feedback and engagement from the public and communities in the west on the work which has been done to date.

This week Eirgird published a significant report on the Grid West project, entitled the Stage 1 Report, and is now encouraging feedback and engagement from the public and communities in the west on the work which has been done to date.

This report and map illustrates a number of indicative 1 kilometre wide corridors within which the new 400kV power line could be placed. It also identifies one corridor from Bellacorick to Flagford as being the “least constrained” (coloured pink) to meet the needs of the project. Currently Gridwest believe a route from Bellacorrick, bypassing Ballina, Swinford and coming under Ballaghdereen towards Flagford at Cortober, Carrick-on-Shannon is the least constrained options as it best avoids the environmental and other constraints.

Grid West Project Manager, Alan McHugh said “This is a key milestone for the Grid West project as today, for the first time, we bring before the public a number of potential corridors which can accommodate this new transmission line to provide 21st century electricity infrastructure for the west of Ireland. With this information we are also starting a new round of focused public consultation so that individuals and communities in the region can engage and interact with the project team”.

The €240m Grid West project will develop a new high capacity power line linking the Bellacorick area in County Mayo to a strong point on the transmission grid at either Flagford in County Roscommon or Cashla in County Galway. By connecting the electricity generated by the region’s huge renewable energy resources, the project will facilitate significant job creation and investment as well as contributing to national recovery and growth. Grid West is part of EirGrid’s Grid25 plan to upgrade the national grid between now and 2025 to deliver a sustainable, competitive and secure electricity supply to homes, businesses and industries.

According to Alan McHugh, the Stage 1 Report “focused on mapping the key features including towns, villages and settlements, national monuments, landscapes, areas designated for conservation and all existing infrastructure which may have a bearing on the project. Using detailed information on these constraints and the feedback which we have received from the public and other stakeholders, our consultants have identified a number of indicative 1km wide corridors which could accommodate the new transmission line.”

The report analyses in detail how various constraints impact on these corridors and identifies a corridor from Bellacorick to Flagford, just outside Cortober as being the “least constrained” to meets the needs of the project. It also identifies potential locations for the necessary new substations at Bellacorick and Flagford or Cashla. The Grid West project is expected to be completed by late 2019.

Alan McHugh stressed that no decisions regarding the final corridor or route have been made. “We are asking the public and communities to view the work which has been carried out to date and to share their views with us on all the potential route corridors that have been identified including the least constrained corridor and on any aspect of the project and findings of the report.” Following this round of consultation, EirGrid will review and consider all feedback received from stakeholders and identify an emerging preferred corridor.

• The report can be accessed on the www.eirgridprojects.com/projects/gridwest. The project’s Information Centre in Castlebar will be open Monday to Friday (9am to 5pm) until April 16 where the report and all related maps can be viewed. The public can call lo call 1890 940 802 to discuss the project or email the team at gridwest@eirgrid.com. The next local information sessions will be in The Landmark Hotel, Carrick-on-shannon on Wednesday, March 20.