NEPP response re Terms of Ref of Commission on North South Electricty Interconnector

July 27, 2011

Media Release from North East Pylon Pressure campaign (NEPPC)
25 July 2011

Commission on North-South Electricity Interconnector needs to clarify its terms of reference to the people of the North-East.

NEPPC will only participate with Commission when reimbursement committments by FG are delivered

Minister Pat Rabbitte recently announced the terms of reference of the Commission on the North-South Electricity Interconnector and today announced the three-member composition of this Commission, which will review and report on a case for and cost of undergrounding the project.

North East Pylon Pressure Campaign (NEPPC) calls on the freshly appointed Commission to clarify from the outset, to the people of the North-East, what precisely are the terms of reference it has been directed to consider and also what aspects it has been directed to avoid consideration. NEPPC also calls on the Commission to inform the public what level of technical detail and quality of study it can produce with the short timeframe to reporting and small resource base it has at hand.
”The four Terms of Reference agreed by Cabinet are very vague and somewhat conflicting” stated Aimée Treacy, chairperson of NEPPC. ”Unless the objectives are clearly defined and the resources and timeframe established to meet these objectives, then the outcome will be a report lacking in sufficient technical detail and hence credibility” she stated. “NEPPC submitted a very detailed set of proposed Terms of References, which have not been specifically included in the final terms announced by Minister Rabbitte”

NEPPC makes the following comments on the 4 terms of reference:
1.    The terms of reference call for a review of expert literature. NEPPC calls on the Commission to commence by reading all of the expert witness submissions to the Oral hearing in summer 2010, including listening to audio recording of the cross examination of EirGrid’s project manager at the hearing.

2.    The terms of reference request consideration of the routes proposed by EirGrid, but EirGrid do not consider ANY underground route. NEPP call on the Commission to clarify if it will examine a site-specific independent underground route, or will it just default to EirGrid overhead line information. ”To date, the one and only site-specific route examined has been by the international expert in electricity transmission systems -Professor Friedhelm Noack- by request of NEPPC” stated Ms Treacy.”It is of paramount importance that his findings and indeed his inputs be a core resource to be drawn on by the Commission”

3.    The terms of reference request an examination of the case for and cost of undergrounding. NEPPC calls on the Commission to clarify which costs will be considered and what assumptions are being made.” It is crucial that all costs are included and that the costings are accurately researched to reflect reality” stated Colin Andrew, technical spokesperson for NEPPC. “EirGrid selectively look only at technical capital costs at low transmission capacities. It has failed to and/or refused to include lifetime running costs, impact costs such as those on agriculture and farming, property devaluation, environment and landscape” he further stated.

4.    The terms of reference request the Commission to consult with whatever bodies it sees fit. NEPPC seeks clarity in relation to what level of consultation will be facilitated, what inputs, what experts etc.”NEPPC wishes to submit the wealth of technical information and expertise it has amassed in relation to undergrounding, which is very relevant to this study. But we are a voluntary organization, locking horns with EirGrid, a semi-state organization with a preponderance to treat taxpayer’s monies as a bottomless pit of resources” stated Aimée Treacy. NEPPC has been given a commitment by Fine Gael to be reimbursed for its costs related to EirGrid’s inadequate and deficient planning application in 2010. “The participation of NEPPC with the Commission study is conditional on this commitment being delivered on, and the costs being reimbursed” stated Ms Treacy.

Finally, NEPPC notes with disappointment the restriction of the Commission from examining the case for the Meath-Tyrone power line, or indeed looking at alternative technologies.

Filed under: News & Events,Press Releases 2010-2012

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