9 March 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

An entirely new report on the controversial north-south interconnector project and the feasibility of undergrounding the development was called for by several members of Monaghan Co Council on Monday after a delegation of EirGrid officials who met them to discuss the recent International Expert Commission report put forward the view that the Commission had incomplete information and technical data at its disposal to draw the conclusions it had made in relation to the undergrounding option.
On the proposal of Matt Carthy, Owen Bannigan seconding, the Council agreed to seek a meeting with Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte to discuss the Commission’s findings.
Andrew Cooke, Grid Development EirGrid plc, told Monday’s meeting – held in the new civic offices building in Carrickmacross – that EirGrid had concerns about the Commission report’s conclusion that a high voltage DC USC system with underground cabling was technically possible for the distance required, and believed the Commission had understated the difficulties.
Replying to questions from Colr Bannigan, Mr Cooke said that EirGrid was confident that the undergrounding solution at best would be inferior – it could be built, but it couldn’t meet the objectives of the project to the extent that a 400kv AC overhead line could. EirGrid still believed the overhead line was “the least costly and best technical option.”
Mr Cooke was accompanied at Monday’s meeting by Project Manager Aidan Geoghegan, Project Engineer Shane Brennan and David Martin of EirGrid Communications.
Present as observers for the discussion were Co Monaghan Anti-Pylon Committee representatives Donal McDaid (Chairperson), Nigel Hillis, Mary Marron and Margaret Marron.
In his initial presentation to the councillors, Mr Cooke reiterated EirGrid’s position that the 400kv AC overhead line approach was the best option, adding that while a “hybrid option” involving partial undergrounding was technically possible, it was suitable only where the undergrounded cable requirement was relatively short, a couple of kilometres. The hybrid option was of high cost and would have to be justified for environmental or other pressing reasons, and no section of the route of the north-south interconnector had been identified as being of this nature so far in EirGrid’s assessment.
Mr Cooke said there had been some advances made in high voltage DC technology. There was a new form of voltage source conversion which had some benefits over the more traditional form, and offered some flexibility. EirGrid had …

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