Public consultation opens for EirGrid’s €500m electricity grid link

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Public consultation is starting today on EirGrid’s planned €500m Grid Link Project to upgrade the electricity grid. It is proposing the construction of a new power line linking Leinster and Munster.

The grid reinforcement plan for the south and east of the country is also aiming to help Ireland reduce its heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels and to instead provide a smarter platform for the future integration of renewables to the grid.

It’s part of EirGrid’s Grid25 strategy to upgrade Ireland’s electricity transmission grid.

EirGrid said it has carried out a detailed analysis of the national transmission grid to identify the level of reinforcement required to ensure a secure electricity supply and to better position Ireland to achieve its renewable energy targets. It said this analysis identified a capacity shortfall in the south and east of the country.

The initial proposed project study area covers counties Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow.

Economic benefit

Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, was in Cork this morning to launch the project. He said the Grid Link Project would reinforce the electricity grid and have direct economic benefits for local communities.

"I encourage people to engage in the public consultation and provide feedback to EirGrid," he said.

The first stage of consultation will run for eight weeks from today to Friday, 8 June.

“During this first stage of public consultation, EirGrid is seeking comment on the proposed study area map, feedback on what constraints should be identified and on how EirGrid should develop corridors for the project," said John Lowry, manager of the Grid Link Project. "This is a non-statutory consultation that will provide all interested individuals and organisations an opportunity to feed into the early development of the project."

Based on assessments so far, EirGrid said the optimum solution is the construction of a 400 kV alternating current (AC) overhead line linking Cork and Kildare via Wexford. EirGrid said it would be reviewing its technology analysis at key stages throughout the project to ensure it remains valid.

Ireland and renewable energy

EirGrid chief executive Dermot Byrne said the project would be a vital development to strengthen the electricity grid across the south and east of the country.

He said the project would help empower economic growth and help Ireland meet its renewable energy targets.

“The project will help enable Ireland to shift from a heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels to more sustainable sources of energy. It will also help ensure that the most efficient electricity generators in the south and east are utilised in the most effective way," said Byrne.

EirGrid said its project team would carry out detailed studies and extensive public consultation over the coming years to determine constraints that will influence the siting and route selection. 

Information offices will open in Carlow, Carrick-on-Suir, Midleton and New Ross from next Monday. People can also email gridlink@eirgrid.com.

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Carmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com