Gaelectric addresses Larne sinkhole concerns

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The developer behind plans for a multi-million pound green energy project in Larne has moved to allay fears the project could potentially spell disaster for the borough. #

Irish-based renewable energy company Gaelectric wants to build a £300m compressed air energy storage (CAES) facility - only the third of its kind anywhere in the world - at Carnduff on the outskirts of the town.

Compressed air would be stored deep underground in caverns specifically created for this purpose within geological salt layers.

Local residents have raised a number of concerns over the plans, ranging from visual and noise impact on the surrounding area, to the potential for damage to the marine environment as a result of brine being discharged into the sea.

But one resident contacted the Larne Times this week to voice her fears regarding the possibility of a huge sinkhole being created in Larne should one of the caverns collapse.

The resident referred to a disastrous incident in Louisiana, USA, where a massive sinkhole was created at Bayou Corne from a collapsed underground salt cavern, operated by a company called Texas Brine.

The incident forced 350 residents from their homes, and it is thought the evacuation order could last for years.

The Times put the resident’s concerns to Gaelectric and we asked if a similar scenario could potentially take place in Larne.

A spokesman for the company responded: “Our initial research shows that the use of the salt resource at Bayou Corne, its design and geological features are markedly different to Larne and what we are proposing.

“We are examining available information on Bayou Corne and will come back to you with a fuller response.”