Grid-West underground route highlights unjust decision to exclude North-South interconnector from same analysis

June 23, 2014

Media Release from North East Pylon Pressure Campaign (NEPPC)

23rd June 2014

Grid-West underground analysis but not North-South interconnector

Grid-West underground route highlights unjust decision to exclude North-South interconnector from same analysis

Tame Coalition representatives in North-East have failed to deliver for their constituents

There are 3 major electricity transmission infrastructure projects being advanced by EirGrid as part of its ‘Grid 25’ strategy, namely:
1. The North-South interconnector project, announced in 2007, stretching140 km from Meath to Tyrone.
2. Grid-West project, announced in 2012 running c. 110 km from Mayo to Roscommon, and
3. Grid-Link project, announced in 2013, stretching 250 km from Kildare to Cork .
The Government has appointed an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) to examine the undergrounding of the Grid-West and Grid-Link projects, but has excluded the North-South interconnector project, on the grounds of ‘urgency’.

EirGrid today announced that it has identified an underground route option for Grid-West, which will be analysed, following which it will examine a similar option for Grid-Link. But the North-South interconnector remains excluded.

The exclusion of the North-South interconnector project from this analysis is an illogical and unjust decision. It is deeply unfair and discriminatory to the affected communities across the North-East.
The admission by EirGrid that it has not adequately examined an underground cable option for Grid-West and Grid-Link is equally valid for the North-South interconnector. Why then is EirGrid forging ahead with an overhead lines and pylons planning application for the North-South interconnector? A decision on the feasibility, affordability and acceptability of underground cable technology is a strategic decision. It is also a national decision. The exclusion of the North-South interconnector is a cynical exercise in regionalising the issue and in alienating the communities in the North-East.

NEPPC wishes to make the following points on the specific proposals outlined by EirGrid for undergrounding the Grid –West route:

• EirGrid has finally conceded that undergrounding is technically feasible, using HVDC technology. This is a major U-turn, and in direct contradiction with recent statements from Minister Rabbitte in relation to the North-South interconnector:
“Apart from the question of money there is a technical issue about meshing the two systems which means that the cables cannot go underground”. (Irish Times 29th January, 2014)

• NEPPC has been consistently calling on EirGrid for the last 7 years to carry out a route specific underground study for the North-South interconnector. It yet again calls on EirGrid to do this. It can take this initiative independently of the Government’s cynical decision to exclude the North-South interconnector from the IEP review.

• The main issue being focused on is now distilled down to one of cost. NEPPC wishes to emphasise that the public will not be fooled by any attempt at voodoo economics by EirGrid. All project costs, including comparative land and property devaluation, tourism, agricultural and delay costs need to be factored in, rather than an attempt to look at construction costs only.

• NEPPC wishes to record its deep dissatisfaction with the Government elected representatives in the North-East. It is clear that the case for the North-South interconnector has not been adequately represented and that our Government elected representatives have been spineless in challenging Minister Rabbitte’s decision to ignore the genuine concerns of the people of the North-East. Why have our Government elected representatives stood idly by and done nothing to reverse the decision on the exclusion of the North-South interconnector project?



- ENDS –

Further Information:
North East Pylon Pressure Campaign Limited
087- 680 36 66

Filed under: Press Releases 2014

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NEPP is the overall representative group for the people of Ireland's North East who advocate that high power electric cables should go underground.

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