EirGrid to roll out 250km of power lines in €500m upgrade
HUNDREDS of high-voltage power lines up to 45 metres tall will be built as part of a massive upgrade of the national electricity grid.
EirGrid will today reveal proposed routes for the 250km Grid Link project which will cost €500m and help transmit power from wind farms in Cork and Kerry to Leinster.
Planning permission for the project is expected to be sought in 2015, and the national grid operator will today put details of proposed routes out for public consultation.
The project will connect substations in Knockraha in Cork to Dunstown near Kilcullen in Kildare via Great Island in Wexford. EirGrid said it would deliver a reliable and high quality electricity supply for the homes, farms and businesses across the region.
"There's over 6,400km of high-voltage overhead lines across the country already, and this is about bolstering the network to maximise its potential," project manager John Lowry said.
"Where there are gaps in the system, we have to put new infrastructure in place. It makes the system more efficient. The mesh (high voltage) network is like the motorways. Everything else is tapped off it, down to the distribution system which is operated by the ESB and is tapped into people's homes and factories.
"The pylons will range from 35m to 45m high, but we haven't decided the particular type of tower we're going to use."
There are eight possible options for the link between Knockraha and Great Island, and another six between Great Island and Dunstown.
Each route is in a corridor 1km wide, and the public is asked to provide feedback on any concerns they have about social impacts and the effect the project will have on the environment.
The Grid Link Project is a key element of EirGrid's Grid25 strategy, a €3.2bn investment plan to upgrade the electricity transmission grid and help meet Ireland's target to produce 40pc of all electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Mr Lowry said that two public consultation processes had already been completed.
"This is about assessing all of that feedback from people."
A compensation package for affected landowners will be available. The project is expected to help reduce electricity prices by as much as 10pc.