A legal challenge by environmentalist Peter Sweetman over the construction of the national grid connection to a wind farm in Co. Wicklow is to be heard in the fastrack Commerical Court.
Mr Sweetman is seeking an order quashing the decision of An Bord Pleanala in December 2018 determining the construction of the connections servicing a windfarm development located at Ballycumber, Tinahealy, Co Wicklow was exempted development.
The central issue in the challenge is the claim the works undertaken for the purpose of connecting the Ballycumber Wind Farm to the national electricity grid were required to be the subject to an environmental impact assessment and as such could not be the subject of a declaration that it was exempted development.
In the Commerical Court today, Mr Justice Robert Haughton admitted the case to the court list and the judicial review will be heard next December.
A director of Ballycumber Wind Farm Ltd, which is a notice party to the proceedings, Paul McConvey, in an affidavit to the court said more than €40m has been expended on all aspects of the development of the wind farm project to date.
He said KBM Wind Farm Ltd in 2013 was granted planning permission for the construction of the Ballycumber Wind Farm comprising of six turbines. Ballycumber Wind Farm subsequently acquired from KBM WInd Farm Ltd certain assets necessary for the construction of Ballycumber Wind Farm.
In 2015, Wicklow County Council granted a declaration that the construction of the underground electrical connection between the wind farm and the ESB sub-station was exempted development. Construction works on the grid connection were completed by the end of December last year.
Mr McConvey said the approximate capital cost of the wind farm project is more than €40million so far, which includes the costs of construction, equipment and connection works.
The 2015 declaration was previously the subject of a High Court challenge which was settled. The connection between Ballycumber Wind Farm and the national grid happened at the end of March this year.
It is claimed that while the wind farm is operational and is exporting electricity to the national grid any delay in the hearing and determination of the proceedings which may have consequences for the status of the works undertaken in relation to the grid connection would have very serious financial consequences for Ballycumber Wind Farm Ltd.