Farmer in case against cable

A legal challenge has been mounted against a decision by An Bord Pleanála that a high-voltage underground cable connecting a €21m windfarm in Cavan to the national gird is an exempted development.

Anti-windfarm campaigner Val Martin, who owns a farm near the windfarm at Raragh, Kingscourt, which is under construction, is to have his case heard in the big business division of the High Court.

Mr Martin, of Gortnakesh, Cavan Town, is challenging a decision made by An Bord Pleanála in May that the provision of a 20-kilovolt underground cable, forming the grid connection between the Raragh windfarm and the existing ESB substation 5km away at Kilaulun, Co Meath, is an exempted development.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern admitted the proceedings to the commercial list and said the case will be heard over two days in October.

Raragh Developments Ltd, a notice party to the legal challenge, had applied to have the case entered in to the Commercial Court list.

In an affidavit to the court, Raragh project manager Eoin McPartland said in November 2010 An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the construction and operation of a windfarm to include five turbines, a mast, electrical substation, and underground cabling and ancillary works at Raragh and Corrinshigo, Kingscourt.

He said Raragh has entered into a grid connection agreement with ESB Networks and the windfarm must be connected to the grid and start exporting electricity to the grid by December 31, 2017. 

He said any delay in determining the proceedings will seriously jeopardise the ability of Raragh to complete the windfarm and grid connection.

He said it was not commercially viable for Raragh to complete the planned windfarm without certainty regarding the connection of the windfarm to the grid.

The capital cost of the entire project, he said, is in the region of €21m, which will include the cost of the construction of the windfarm, equipment, and connection works. 

The capital cost of the grid connection alone is about €3m, said Mr McPartland.

He said Raragh had incurred significant costs to date and the commercial activities of the company will be significantly impacted upon if the legal challenge proceedings are not disposed of expeditiously.


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