CROSS-BORDER PUSH FOR ELECTRICITY INTERCONNECTOR

18 December 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Energy Minister Says North/South Transmission Line is Critical for All-Island Market

Michael Fisher

As EirGrid prepares for planning battles on both sides of the border for the proposed North/South interconnector, Energy Ministers in Dublin and Belfast have stressed the importance of the project as part of the all-island electricity market. Before launching a white paper on energy, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White T.D., spoke about the interconnector on RTÉ’s ‘Morning Ireland’ programme.

Mr White said the application was at the planning stage at the moment and it was obviously up to An Bord Pleanála. “I think they may well be having an oral hearing”, he told the interviewer. The Minister continued: “I would hope that we have a decision back from the planners some time in the course of next year. But it’s extremely important and then it will take a number of years for it to be built”.

Minister White pointed out that the all-island electricity market was one of the great success stories of the island economy, and the interconnector was critical to that.

The white paper on Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030 sets out a vision for transforming the country’s fossil fuel-based energy sector into a clean, low carbon system by 2050. It contains half a dozen references to the interconnector. The introduction says the government places great value on the relationship with Northern Ireland and it will continue close co-operation on a range of energy matters, including the single European market, energy transmission and the proposed North-South transmission line.

Referring to EirGrid’s Grid25 strategy containing a strategic overview for the development of the electricity transmission system to 2025 and beyond, the paper says a review of Grid25 completed this year confirmed the urgent need for investment and for the implementation of the proposed North-South transmission line. In four paragraphs devoted to interconnection, the line is mentioned twice. It states:

“The proposed North-South transmission line, which is currently in the planning process, will improve security of..

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