A route through county Wicklow, linking Cork and Kildare, has been identified as the optimum solution for a massive €500 million high-voltage power line linking Leinster and Munster.
Great Island in neighbouring Wexford has been highlighted as the possible link-up location for the pylon route which Eirgrid claims will provide for increased future demand for electricity in Wicklow as well as counties Dublin, Kildare, Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, Tipperary and east Cork.
Under initial proposals the 400kv Grid Link corridor would be overhead, at least 250km long and with four pylons every kilometer and big enough to bring wind energy to 750,000 homes.
This week Eirgrid insisted no application for the build would be lodged before the end of 2015.
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, has urged the public to engage in the consultation process to identify unsuitable areas for pylons, such as protected landscapes, in order to map a route for the line.
With an eight-week public awareness and consultation period now underway to map a suitable corridor for the power line, Eirgrid information centres will be open at The Coach House, Marsh Lane, New Ross on Wednesdays from 12-6p.m. and at Enterprise House, O’brien Road, Carlow on Thursdays from 12-6p.m.
‘Without this project, the grid in the south and east of Ireland would not be sufficient to meet the region’s future electricity needs,’ Minister Rabbitte said.
According to Eirgrid, developing this Grid Link project will involve a number of steps over the coming years.
Firstly a study area – a search area where the project will be located – is identified. Constraints – features or designations, such as protected areas, in the landscape that might make an area unsuitable for the project – are then mapped in the study area.
Once constraints are mapped, corridors will be identified and then assessed to determine which is the least constrained.
This corridor and an indicative line route – the proposed alignment for the project – and substation locations will be subject to further study.
These locations are then subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment, which forms the basis of an application that will be submitted to An Bord Pleanala for approval.
‘At all stages, feedback from the public will be reviewed and considered by the project team.
As the project develops, the public, local communities and everyone who is interested in the Grid Link Project will have regular opportunities to review and provide input into the issues and options under consideration,’ said Eirgrid in a statement.
The first stage of public consultation will run until June 8.
All submissions and feedback will be reviewed and considered by the project team and this will form the basis of a consultation report.
An open day will also take place at Druids Glen in Newtownmountkennedy on May 22 from 1 pm to 8 pm.