Rabbitte appoints global group to probe North-South smart grid

25 Jul 2011

Communications and Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte has set up an an international commission consisting of three seasoned energy experts to review and report, within six months, on a case for, and cost of, undergrounding (all or part of) Meath-Tyrone 400KV power lines.

Earlier this month, Rabbitte announced the Terms of Reference for the commission, which were agreed at Cabinet. The Terms of Reference fully reflect the commitment made in the Programme for Government in this regard.

Rabbitte has appointed Bo Normark of Sweden as chair of the commission. Normark is president of Power Circle AB in Sweden and has a history in key roles as a recognised expert in the cable industry, primarily with the cable company ABB.

The minister has also appointed Odd-Håkon Hoelsæter (Norway) and Ronnie Belmans (Belgium) as members of the commission.

Hoelsæter was for many years the CEO if the Norwegian electricity grid company, Statnett. He was president and a founding member of the European Transmission System Operators group and was chairman of the board of NordPool, the Scandinavian regional wholesale electricity exchange.

Belmans is a full professor with the Belgian University K.U.Leuven, teaching electric power and energy systems, and a guest professor at the Imperial College of Science, Medicine and Technology, in London. He is chairman of the board of directors of ELIA, the Belgian transmission grid operator.

Rabbitte said: “I have appointed a three-person commission which I believe fully meets the criteria of ‘expert, independent and international’. Combining experience in cable development, grid company management and academic research, this commission will commence working straight away and will, I am confident, carry out the review to the timeframe and standards required by Government in its Terms of Reference.

“The commission is entirely independent in its work. My department will provide the necessary secretariat to assist the commission in fulfilling its task. I look forward to its report in autumn.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years