FAQ’s

Traffic

Will there be disruption to the road network around the area during the construction of the main site and the pipelines?

During the construction period it is envisaged that there will be some disruption to road traffic for short periods of time. We will put in place Transportation and Traffic Management measures to mitigate and minimise impacts on road users and the local community.

What roads will be used for transporting materials to and from the site of the CAES station?

Discussions are currently ongoing with transport NI to determine the most appropriate routes to access the site.

A Haulage Route Selection Report has been prepared for the project to determine a feasible route from the strategic road network to the proposed CAES site that will be designated as the haulage route for heavy vehicles relating to the construction of the CAES site. Potential routes are shown in the image below.

Traffic_Proposed Vehicle Routes

Proposed Improvements to existing roads and the provision of any new service roads?

Further to discussions and agreements with Transport NI, there may be a requirement for localised road widening in some locations. Further to agreement of Transport NI, two areas of localised widening are proposed at the Lough Road/Low Road/Reids Road/Ballystrudder Road mini-roundabout and at the Ferris Bay Road/Ballylumford Road priority junction to facilitate the movement of heavy vehicles.

Geology

What size are the caverns likely to be?

We expect that the CAES caverns will be located at 1500-1700m depth and will be approximately 150m x 60m in size. We expect that the CAES station will require 2 caverns in total.

Emissions

Will there be emission from the facility?

There will be some emissions from the proposed facility. The emissions have been documented and assessed in the Environmental Statement submitted to the Strategic Planning Division.

Noise

What are the expected Noise levels?

There will be some noise levels emanating from the facility. The noise levels have been documented in the Environmental Statement submitted to the Strategic Planning Division.

Water/Gas/Grid

What are the routes for service connections to gas, water and electricity networks?

The connection points for gas and electricity are in close proximity to the proposed site at Ballylumford AGI and Ballylumford 275kv substation respectively and consequently the connection routes are short.

For the operation of the CAES station, water will be sourced from the mains supply and will form part of the provision of services to the site which will be considered as part of the planning permission process.

Other Themes

Who will be responsible for decommissioning the CAES station?

A decision on decommissioning will be made by the CAES station operator closer to the end of the service life of the station to allow for carefully controlled decommissioning and re-instatement. This will form part of the planning conditions for the Project.

Does Project – CAES Larne, NI include wind turbines?

No. Wind turbines are not part of Project – CAES Larne, NI.

Will the project include pylons?

No, pylons are not part of Project-CAES Larne, NI.

Community

What benefits are there in the Scheme for Larne and how do these outweigh years of disruption to local life, and the eyesore of pylons, emission flues, noise etc?

The Project is being designed to minimise or eliminate all potentially negative impacts on the local environment and the community. In addition, community benefit is central to all Gaelectric projects. The objective is to recognise the role of local communities in the success of Gaelectric projects and to financially support improvements to the social infrastructure of the communities where our projects are located. An independently administered Community Fund will be established for the Project, the details of which will be made available once planning permission is granted for the Project.

Implementation of a Community Fund would be welcomed. Will a Community Fund be a ‘one-off’ payment or paid annually for a set number of years?

Once planning permission is secured, an independently administered community benefit fund will be established for the Project. This Fund will be established in conjunction with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. Seed funding will initially be provided by Gaelectric with designated amounts paid into this Fund from the Project on an annual basis. Grants will be paid out of the fund to qualifying local projects annually thereafter for a set number of years.

How will the local community benefit/gain from the Project?

We are working with local community groups and their representatives to decide on the best options for community benefit from the Project. Community benefit is central to all Gaelectric projects.  An independently administered Community Fund will be established, the details of which will be made available once planning permission is granted.

What is the overall cost of the project?

Gaelectric Energy Storage has assessed the total project investment at approximately £300 million in Northern Ireland.

Will the communities of Islandmagee and Larne benefit directly from the energy generated from Project-CAES Larne, NI?

Project-CAES Larne, NI will provide a range of important grid tools to SONI, the electricity transmission system operator for Northern Ireland. We do not expect that local communities would benefit directly from the energy stored and generated from the CAES station. However, we do expect that local communities would benefit from lower energy costs for homes and businesses, together with electricity customers across Northern Ireland. The local economy will benefit from local jobs and investment made during construction and operation of the Project and access to the Community Fund established for the Project and the social projects supported by the Fund.

How many jobs would be created and will they be technical?

We expected that up to 300 full time and part time jobs will be created during the construction phase of the Project. During the operational phase, it is anticipated that there will be 35-52 jobs created. Some of these jobs will require technical skills and we encourage the development of these skills locally.

What benefits will a CAES station bring to Larne and to Northern Ireland?

A CAES station will provide many benefits across Northern Ireland, including:

  • Lower overall energy costs for households and businesses
  • Maximising the use and value of Northern Ireland’s significant indigenous renewable energy resource
  • Reducing Northern Ireland’s reliance on imported fossil fuels such as coal and gas
  • Reducing Northern Ireland’s carbon footprint.

Community Consultation Communications

Has Gaelectric arranged for a mail drop with information on the Project to be carried out in the local area and to residents of Islandmagee? Did Gaelectic conduct door to door visits to local residents in the area of the proposed CAES station.

Our methods of communication with the local community, including those living near the proposed site of the CAES Station on Islandmagee, has included mail drops to over 12,000 addresses in the BT40 postal code area, media releases and editorial in the Larne Times, advertisement of public notices in the Larne Times and other local papers, individual correspondence to individuals and organisations, information about the Project on our website, presentations to Larne Borough Council and the Mid and East Antrim District Borough Council, and the hosting of, to date, seven rounds of community consultation events since 2011.  The Project Team has also met with a number of focus groups on various aspects of the Project and its possible impacts.

Anyone interested in the Project or wishing to make a submission or speak with a member of the Project Team can do so by emailing info@gaelectric.ie or phoning the Project Team at [T. 02890 240 333 ]

What communities have been consulted with?

We have held seven rounds of community consultation events in the Larne area since 2011. These consultation events have been held at community halls and centres on Islandmagee, Larne Town, and Glynn village.  We are continuing to hold focus group meetings on various aspects of the Project.

Marine

Why not ship the brine out to sea?

Following an assessment of environmental & technical impacts from discharge at sea it has been concluded that this is not a suitable option for the marine disposal of brine.

Will the brine come back into the Lough?

The selected location and design of brine discharge points will ensure that brine will not drift back into Larne Lough. The brine will be dispersed at a depth of 20-25m in the Irish Sea. At this depth tidal movements and prevailing currents will prevent drift back into Larne Lough.

Will the discharge encroach on the shore?

No, brine will not encroach on the shore. Again, due to the location of the outfall, tidal movements and prevailing currents will not allow for brine to drift back and encroach on the shore.

Could the pipe be constructed further out at sea?

Having investigated the option to construct the brine pipeline further out we have concluded that this is not feasible due to environmental and engineering constraints.

How big an area will be affected by the brine?

The current directions in the North Sound are strongly Northwest – Southeast in direction. This will create a plume that is longer than it is wide. It will extend approximately 100m in either direction along its longer axis and about 50m in the other direction.

Will all marine life be affected by the discharge of the brine?

No. Organisms that are mobile will move away from the area of the discharge. Organisms that are stationary i.e. live on the seabed, will be affected while brine discharge is underway. However, once brine discharge is finished, these organisms will repopulate the seabed within a year or so.

CAES Station

Why is energy storage important?

Every commodity in the world uses storage to balance over- or under-supply. By using energy storage, Northern Ireland can guard itself against increased prices and help ensure the security of its energy supplies. The traditional way of ensuring that we can meet on-going demand for electricity was to build more energy facilities than were really required. These facilities, which are turned on to meet extra demand, consume imported fossil fuels and are very carbon intensive. Issues also exist when demand drops below the levels forecast. If this happens, energy production is curtailed (turned off) which generally results in a drop in the amount of renewable energy generated, reducing Northern Ireland’s ability to reach its renewable energy targets.

Storing energy in the form of compressed air is a solution to the problem of balancing supply and demand. CAES helps ensure that a ready supply of electricity is available to the grid at times of peak demand. This means that supply and demand can be balanced in a sustainable way.

Is the storage of compressed air safe?

Yes, compressed air energy storage facilities have operated safely in Germany and the United States for more than 30 years.

What are the environmental benefits of CAES Technology?

CAES technology helps maximise the use of wind generated energy which has a far lower carbon footprint than other forms of fossil-fuelled electricity generation.

Site Location

Why is a new industrial development being proposed for the countryside and not in an existing industrial area?

Larne is the only area on the Island of Ireland with salt deposits suitable for Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) caverns. The location of the CAES station is largely dependent on the location of suitable geological salt deposits within which the caverns required for CAES can be created. A Resource Selection Process was carried out to determine the location of these salt deposits.  Seismic interpretation and magnetic survey has led to the selection of a target area for exploratory drilling at Islandmagee, to the east of the town of Larne.

Where will the station be located on the site?

The location of the proposed development and CAES Station site is towards the northern end of the Islandmagee peninsula. A map of the area showing the proposed CAES Station site is shown here

Site Location Image

Planning

Will the application be dealt with by the Department of the Environment or by local council?

In accordance with Section 26 of the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 the Department of the Environment is of the opinion that the proposed development would, if carried out:

  1. Be of significance to the whole or a substantial part of Northern Ireland or have significant effects outside Northern Ireland, or
  2. Involve a substantial departure from the local development plan for the area to which it relates.

Therefore, the application will be dealt with by the Department of the Environment.

What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

Significant large scale developments require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be prepared and included as part of the planning application. An EIS is a document that assesses the potential effects a proposed development may have on the receiving environment around them. An EIS surveys the current status of the area with regard to ecology, noise, health, visual amenity, air quality, flora and fauna. It then examines the potential impacts a proposed development may have on each of these environmental parameters and sets out measures to mitigate these effects, including to avoid or reduce these effects to acceptable levels.