EirGrid, Ireland’s grid operator, is this week beginning consultation on a new electricity project that will reinforce the network in north Connacht.

Consultation on the North Connacht 110 kV project starts in Ballina tomorrow and will continue in Foxford, Swinford, Charlestown, Dromore West, Collooney, Ballaghaderreen and Castlebar over the coming weeks.

The new development replaces the larger Grid West project that was originally proposed in 2012 to connect large amounts of renewable energy to the grid. The decision to replace it is due to the lower than expected amounts of wind generation in the North Connacht region.

This means it can now be connected through the development of a lower-voltage, 110 kV line. The new project will also reinforce the electricity network in the region, supporting its attractiveness as a place in which to live, work and invest.

Eirgrid Spokesperson David Martin says the project is at a very early stage of development and they are looking for feedback on four different 110 KV technology options.

Mr. Martin says they are not considering a route for the line at this early stage.

He says once they have decided on the best technology option they will engage with the public again before deciding on the best route.

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 start point for the project will be at the Moy substation near Ballina.

The end point will be either Tonroe substation near Ballaghaderreen or Srananagh substation near Sligo town.

Anyone who wishes to make submission on this phase of the project can do so until july 23rd.

Details on how to make a submission are available on www.eirgrid.com

Meanwhile, Mayo County Council have welcomed today’s announcement from Eirgrid on their plans to move forward with initial consultations on the North Connacht Project.

Chief Executive at Mayo County Council Peter Hynes ‘We are delighted that the consultation process for the North Connacht 110 kV project has begun, it will connect large amounts of renewable energy to reinforce the electricity network in the region. Eirgrid are working earnestly to provide the best options for this development and while it is in its initiation we encourage that the people of County Mayo  actively engage with Eirgrid in providing feedback on the different technology options. This will be tremendously helpful in their decision-making process and ensure that the most suitable course of action is taken for our county.’

Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Richard Finn welcomed the development and confirmed the significance of the project  ‘ “Ireland’s target for renewable energy generation is to account for 40% of electricity consumption by 2020, the development of the North Connacht 110 kV Project is a step in the right direction for County Mayo’s participation towards this goal. By connecting renewable energy from the North West to the grid, this new project will reinforce the electricity network, supporting Mayo County Council’s aim to enhance the attractiveness of the county as a place in which to live, work and invest”