Work finally to begin on €110 million Laois electricty power substation

Work set to begin on controversial project

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Work finally to begin on €110  million Laois electricty power substation

Eirgrid were forced to stop work last year after being found not to have proper planning.

Work is set to start on a €110 EirGrid electricity transmission project which the company says will upgraded the electricity network across the midlands, according to Eirgrid.

ESB Networks confirmed that work will begin preliminary site works for the contentious 400 kV substation at Coolnabacky south-east of Portlaoise in advance of the construction work which will start at the end of the year.

Eirgrid says substation is part of the Laois-Kilkenny Project that will enhance the quality and security of electricity supply in Laois, Kilkenny, Carlow and Kildare.

There are a number of elements to the scheme, including construction of a new substation at Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny; a new 110 kV line between the two substations; and an upgrade to the existing Ballyragget - Kilkenny line. These works will begin later in the year.

“This scheme represents a major upgrade of the electricity system in the Midlands. It will also provide the capacity and security of supply required by customers and high-tech users,” said David Martin, EirGrid spokesperson. 

Eirgrid says the scheme represents an investment of €110 million into the region and construction is expected to take three years to complete.

The company says the planning conditions for these construction works have been discharged.  A statement said EirGrid and ESB Networks will continue to work with the local community and landowners to address any issues in relation to the works.

The project was first proposed in 2009 but has been fought since then by local residents under the Ratheniska Timahoe Spink Action Group. Local councillors and TDs including Minister for Justice Charlie Flangan have voiced opposition.

The project was fought to the High Court by residents. 

RTS say its complaints have been accepted by both the United Nations Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee and the European Commission.

Last year the project was delayed further when work began without the proper planning permission.