WHITE WELCOMES EIRGRID REVIEW OF GRID25 PROGRAMME
As Minister for Energy, I welcomed the publication of EirGrid’s consultation paper on Ireland’s grid development. The paper, which reviews the Grid Link, Grid West, and North-South Interconnecting Line projects, 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, Your Grid, Your Views, Your Tomorrow, 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.
Depending on the options implemented following a public consultation launched by EirGrid today, the total cost of Grid 25 projects will be revised down from €4 billion in 2008 to between €2.7 billion and €3.9 billion.
Following public consultation and a review of future energy needs and technological possibilities, 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.
The review takes account of lower energy demand than was projected in 2008 when the strategy was first developed, and in 2011 when it was first reviewed. It emphasises the use of new technology that is now sufficiently tried, tested and trusted to meet EirGrid’s anticipated requirements and supports Government plans for balanced regional development.
I wish to acknowledge EirGrid’s efforts to improve community engagement and urged individuals to participate in the consultation launched today.
I encourage everyone to review the proposals put forward by EirGrid and submit their comments on the draft strategy, which is crucial to Ireland’s continuing economic and jobs recovery.