National grid operator sets out €2.9bn investment programme
NATIONAL grid operator EirGrid is planning an upgrade of the transmission system costing up to €2.9bn to enhance security of supply and allow more renewables be used to generate electricity.
The State-owned company is also planning a six-week public consultation to help plan how best to upgrade the grid while taking into account changes in consumption patterns, rollout of new technologies and meeting binding emissions targets.
The 'Tomorrow's Energy Scenarios 2017 - Planning our Energy Future' consultation begins next month and was announced at EirGrid's annual conference in Dublin Castle.
Ceo Fintan Slye said it involved four scenarios around low and steady economic growth, high economic growth, which leads to a push to a low-carbon future, and a fourth where consumers generate electricity by way of solar or wind and feed it back into the system.
"One of our roles is to plan the development of the electricity transmission grid to meet the future needs of society," Mr Slye said.
"The key is to get feedback on the scenarios and it provides a way to get a structured conversation around policy and choices and the impacts of them.
"It's not saying this is what the future should be. It allows us to plan the transmission system. We don't want to build stuff which ends up not being used. It allows us to assess any projects against future scenarios."
Separately, the Grid Development Strategy sets out planned investment of between €2.6bn and €2.9bn over the coming years, including the controversial North South Interconnector, Grid West which is under development, a reinforcement of the grid around Dublin and grid strengthening in the north west.
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said the interconnector would "open up" the north-east for investment.
The plan also includes an interconnector to France at a cost of some €1bn.