PEOPLE ‘UP IN ARMS’ OVER EIRGRID DECISION TO PRESS ON WITH OVERHEAD ELECTRICITY LINE WITH PYLONS

16 April 2021 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Michael Fisher

Landowners, farmers and residents throughout Monaghan, Cavan and Meath are “up in arms” according to an antipylon group about the way EirGrid has plugged in its plans for the North South interconnector during the year-long pandemic, as reported exclusively by this paper last week. The major infrastructure project involves an overhead high voltage electricity line with 300 pylons in the three counties and 100 more north of the border in Co. Armagh and a small part of Tyrone at Turleenan near The Moy.

The public’s anger over the failure by Eir- Grid to listen to their widely expressed views on undergrounding was increased when the State-owned company announced on Friday it had chosen to put underground a new 400kV line in counties Meath and Kildare. It also published an information video on social media (which required advance preparation) to answer the question “why can’t we put everything underground’.

Jason Kenna, senior lead engineer at EirGrid, said sometimes underground cables are used “but it is challenging to send AC electricity underground so we are very careful about where we use it”. He said AC underground cables can only be used where the grid is already strong and well connected. “We consider each project on its own merits and always consult with local people to get their views to find the right solution for the area. Our goal is always to secure a reliable supply of electricity that our growing population needs for the future,” Mr Kenna stated. Then yesterday EirGrid announced a community consultation on its Celtic interconnector project which is a subsea and underground cable that will run from Brittany in France to Co. Cork.

As part of ongoing engagement to get the views of local people, EirGrid has established a project community forum and has arranged an information evening, hosted by facilitators from Irish Rural Link next Wednesday. This is the same day when the EirGrid Chief Executive Mark Foley is due to make an online presentation to members of Monaghan County Council. On Monday Mr Foley addressed a meeting of Cavan County Council that was not open to the media to brief them on plans for grid development and the need to put more renewable energy on stream by 2030 to combat climate change.

Last week The Northern Standard reported that EirGrid had been using the Covid-19 crisis to advance their plans for a new North South line. The present cross-border electricity link between Louth and Tandragee is a 275kV double circuit tieline. It was brought back into service by EirGrid and NIE in 1995 when pylons near Crossmaglen in south Armagh that had been damaged by …

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