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Cross-border power grid project raises the temperature

Words: Roger Milne
Powerlines / iStock_000024574877

Proposals for a controversial £250 million electricity inter-connector across the Irish border are set to raise the temperature again now the Republic of Ireland’s grid operator EirGrid has submitted a planning application for the long-delayed scheme and a key environmental report on the project’s Northern Ireland section has been published.

The proposed scheme – a second connection between the separate power grids – will link the networks through new substations at Turleenan, near Moy in County Tyrone, and Batterstown, County Meath – some 85 miles away.

Environmental and health campaigners wanted the project undergrounded.

In Northern Ireland the lead is being taken by the System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) and a separate planning application was the subject of an adjourned inquiry organised by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) several years ago.

SONI has just published an environmental report that will now be advertised in the local press to give the public the opportunity to comment.

The department of the environment is seeking views from its statutory consulters before requesting the reopening of inquiry, the timetabling of which will be a matter for the PAC.