CAES: Residents seek answers

I write in response to a letter from Gaelectric in your paper on Thursday, January 30 ref: compressed air e nergy storage (CAES) facility at Carrickfergus Road, Larne.

Brendan McGrath, CEO, talks about the great public consultation on this project. As a Carrickfergus Road resident I can say the only notification I ever received from Gaelectric was four days prior to a public exhibition at Glynn Village Hall in November, 2013.

The scale and quality of this was so poor that it was impossible to see what was being planned. I certainly didn’t expect a building 300m long and five stories high as reported in your paper on January 23,

I have entered into written correspondence with Gaelectric, but I have found their replies do not give direct answers to questions: they say that this and that has not been decided yet.

In my correspondence I have asked Gaelectric questions including:

- Route for brine disposal: Why Drains Bay and not Islandmagee? Is this a pure cost saving measure, or is there a difficultly in securing a trans-Islandmagee route?

- Service connections gas, water and grid routes?

- Proposed improvements to existing roads and the provision of any new service roads.

- What is the proposed lifespan of this project?

- Could the site be extended to have a Carnduff 3 and 4?

- How will the site be decommissioned?

- What benefits are there for Larne and how do these outweigh years of disruption to local life, and the eyesores of pylons, emission flues, noise etc? Will Gaelectric be establishing an office in Larne to run the project?

- What consideration has been given to a local electricity discount scheme?

Let us hope we get full answers to these questions that matter to locals at the March consultation.

Mr McGrath says: “CAES is not directly associated with wind energy developments”, but it is interesting that a simple internet search of the two existing CAES plants in Germany and USA shows them surrounded by windmills. We already have a new windmill beside the proposed site which can be seen for miles.

Gaelectric, please tell the people of Larne what is planned and what the impact is for them now and over the next 30 years.

George Graham