Meeting for the public on CAES plan

An artist's impression of the proposed Gaelectric CAES facility at Islandmagee. Image c/o Gaelectric. INLT-07-706-con

An artist's impression of the proposed Gaelectric CAES facility at Islandmagee. Image c/o Gaelectric. INLT-07-706-con

A public information meeting on Gaelectric’s proposed Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) facility in Islandmagee will take place on Saturday February 27 at 10am in the new Islandmagee Community Hall at the Gobbins.

The purpose of the meeting, which is being organised by the local community and will not be attended by Gaelectric, is to give information on the proposed plan.

Planners are presently consulting on Gaelectric’s application to build the £300m CAES facility, which entails the creation of underground salt caverns to store energy in the form of compressed air, which would then be released to generate electricity when demand is high.

The company is proposing to pump brine, the waste by-product, into the sea.

Environmentalists have raised concerns over the impact of the brine pumping on the marine environment.

Last week, the Times reported on Gaelectric’s environmental statement, which revealed that the company might take measures to protect sea creatures ahead of the brine discharge, including sending divers down to survey and move rare purple sunstar starfish and other large immobile species. Smaller immobile species, like anemones, would be killed off in the area close to the discharge pipe.

The four-week consultation period on the CAES plan will come to an end on March 10.

Copies of the environmental statement for the project are available to be reviewed at Whitehead Library and at Gaelectric’s offices at Clarendon Dock in Belfast.

The planning application and environmental statement can be viewed at www.planningni.gov.uk or at the DOE’s planning service offices at the Strategic Planning Division, Causeway Exchange, Belfast.