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01/04/2015

Revised grid proposals could cut planning problems

Words: Roger Milne

Energy minister Alex White has welcomed the publication of EirGrid’s consultation paper on Ireland’s grid development.

This suggests that fewer new major overhead power line projects may be needed than originally expected.

He has highlighted the paper’s review of the Grid Link, Grid West, and North-South Interconnecting Line projects, which says Ireland’s energy transmission needs can be met with reduced new infrastructure build because of new technological developments and updated projections of future electricity demand.

The document confirms the need to reinforce the transmission system in the South-East, but suggests an alternative to the original Grid Link proposal, which would involve upgrading existing transmission lines rather than building new lines.

It also puts forward a new option for Grid West, which would significantly reduce the amount of new overhead cable required.

It reaffirms the need for the North South project. Proposals for new power lines in Ireland have proved highly contentious and sparked major planning battles.

White added: “The draft strategy presents a fresh approach that will be welcomed by many. It will strengthen the electricity grid while ensuring that new infrastructure will be built when a clear need is identified and when all options have been fully explored. It also places a much stronger focus on engaging and consulting with local communities on future infrastructure development.”

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