Information meetings are being held across Co Mayo to brief local communities on plans to develop a high-capacity electricity power line.
Eirgrid has announced the “preferred corridor” for a 400 kilovolt line, running from north Mayo to Flagford in Co Roscommon.
It is proposed to bring the ‘Grid West’ line along a route starting north west of the village of Moygownagh and terminating close to Carrick on Shannon.
It will run west of Ballina, east of the towns of Foxford, and Swinford and south of Charlestown and Ballaghaderreen.
However, several communities along the proposed route have expressed concerns about the environmental impact of constructing huge pylons to support the line.
They are arguing that the line should run underground but Eirgrid says the high-capacity nature of the proposed connector means it must go over ground.
Around 60 people held a silent protest outside the company’s first information meeting in Moygownagh. They are worried about the implications of having pylons – some over 40 metres high – in the area.
Eirgrid hopes to secure agreement with landowners and submit a planning application to Bord Pleanála by 2015. It envisages construction starting in 2017, with the line operational in 2019.
The connector will bring energy generated by a proposed wind farm in the region to the national grid and be capable of carrying power from other renewable sources in the coming years.
It forms part of an overall plan to have 40% of the country’s electricity generated from renewable means by 2020.
A planning application for a 112 turbine wind farm at nearby Bellacorick was lodged during the summer. That is expected to be the subject of oral hearings in the coming weeks.
Open days are being held over the next week and a half along the preferred route corridor.
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