The development of a renewable energy project is a lengthy process. Following the securing of planning consent, there are a number of further steps that need to be taken. These include the securing of a route to market, securing the grid connection, carrying out due diligence on the project being proposed and securing finances to build the project.
An important aspect of this process is the grid connection point and the associated cable route. In the development of the Coole Wind Farm proposal, a grid connection point at the existing Mullingar substation was established as the most suitable connection point to link the wind farm to the national electricity grid system. Information on this connection point and proposed grid connection route was outlined during public consultation and detailed at the Public Consultation Event that was held as part of the wind farm project public consultation process. Although planning permission was not sought for the grid route proposal, it was considered, and included as part of the consented wind farm planning application.
The majority of the details outlined in the consented planning application will not change however it will include:
- upgrade and reorientation of the permitted electricity substation in the townland of Camagh
We will also seek permission for the underground cable connecting the Coole Wind Farm to the existing Mullingar 110kV substation. This will involve the construction of a dedicated bay within the existing Mullingar substation compound.
It is expected to lodge a planning application to Westmeath County Council in May 2020 in order to seek planning consent for these proposed works. Apart from the aspects detailed above, the planning application will be in line with what has been assessed in the previous planning application and outlined during the Public Consultation Event.
In particular, the traffic management proposals remain unchanged as does our commitment to engaging with people in advance of any planned works. We will ensure that people in the local area are kept well informed both before and during any construction works and we will provide contact details for a liaison officer for the duration of the works.
All of the above-mentioned works will be carried out in the townlands of Monktown, Coole, Fearmore (Fore by), Newtown (Fore by), Mayne, Simonstown (Fore by), Ballinealoe, Shrubbywood, Clonava, Lackan (Corkaree by), Soho, Ballynaclonagh, Abbeyland, Rathganny, Ballindurrow, Cullendarragh, Culleenabohoge, Ballynafid, Knightswood, Portnashangan, Culleen More, Farranistick and Irishtown (Fore by) in Co. Westmeath.
Below is a map of the proposed grid route. It is envisaged that the works on the grid connection will be carried out on a phased, or staged basis during the construction of the wind farm. This will include substation works, laying of cable ducts on the off-road sections and the laying of ducting and cables under the public road. The construction of the wind farm will take approximately 18 months. The works in the public roads, directly associated with laying the cable ducting on the grid route, will take approximately 26 weeks and are likely to be phased within the construction program.
PROPOSED GRID ROUTE (click image for larger version)