Grid West

Smaller-scale grid infrastructure is being proposed for North Connacht after a review of the region’s renewable energy plans.

The Grid West project was proposed in 2012 in response to plans for large-scale renewable generation in the North West of the country.

We originally proposed a 400kV overhead line as the technical solution for this project. However, in 2015 we published a report to the Government-appointed Independent Expert Panel that contained three options for delivering the project. They were an underground cable, an overhead line, and a third option that combines both technologies.

Most recently, in September 2017, we announced plans to replace Grid West with a smaller-scale development. The decision to replace it was made due to the significantly reduced amounts of wind generation in the North Connacht region.

Why is this project needed?

Ireland has a target for renewable generation to account for 40% of electricity consumption by 2020. This includes wind, wave and tidal power.

As the national electricity transmission system operator for Ireland, we have a statutory function to connect electricity generators. Subject to direction from the regulator, this statute requires us to offer a connection to the grid for those who request it. When an electricity generator accepts our connection offer, we have to meet their needs. This means we are legally required to develop the grid in response to plans for new electricity generation, such as wind farms.

Although there has been a reduction in anticipated wind generation in North Connacht, there is still a need to connect generators in there . This can now be met through the development of 110 kV electricity infrastructure; not the 220 kV nor 400 kV infrastructure that was proposed under Grid West. To read more about the revised 110kV project for the west, now called North Connacht, click here.

What are the benefits of this project?

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.