Eirgrid to review €3.2bn pylon projects
Eirgrid is reviewing its controversial upgrade of the national grid amid growing opposition, the Irish Independent has learnt.
The company began a review of its €3.2bn Grid25 investment programme last May as part of an "ongoing assessment" of the strategy, which is designed to bolster the grid and allow more renewables on to the system.
The review will take into account the most up-to-date information available, including technical feasibility, future demand projections and the impact that projects will have on the environment, the company said. The findings will be published early next year.
It comes as opposition continues to mount in local communities which face seeing 45-metre high pylons.
Grid25 includes the €240m Grid West project between Roscommon and north west Mayo; the €500m Grid Link line which runs from Cork to Kildare via Wexford; and the €288m North-South Interconnector between Tyrone and Meath. The upgrades are needed because much of the existing high-voltage network - or bulk transmission system - where lines carry 220Kv (220,000 volts) of power or more, has been largely untouched in more than two decades, during a period where electricity demand grew by 150pc.
Launched in October 2008, Grid25 is based on energy demand growing in the coming years. EirGrid said its plan detailed necessary upgrades between now and 2025, and was constantly reviewed.
"EirGrid carries out regular assessments of the country's energy needs, based on projected population and projected requirements of business, as well as government and EU policy," it said in a statement.
"The Grid25 strategy was previously reviewed and updated in 2011 to adjust for the downturn in the economy. The scale of the strategy was revised downwards from €4bn to €3.2bn."
It is not clear what projects, if any, may be shelved. All projects must get planning approval before going ahead, and permission has not yet been sought.