There are a number of crucial decisions on the prospective GridLink route due to be announced in 2015:
*** NB : SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED to FRIDAY 5th JUNE ***
EirGrid’s new Draft Development Strategy – Public Consultation Submission Deadline: Friday 22nd May 2015 (now Fri June 5th!)
Crucially there is the public consultation submissions on EirGrid’s recently published (March 27th) new Draft Development Strategy titled ‘Your Grid, Your Views, Your Tomorrow’ which sets out three route strategy options:
- EirGrid’s preferred 400 kV overhead pylons;
- An underground solution (€800 million compared to €500 million for overhead) and;
- A overhead solution using the existing pylon infrastructure using a new technology termed ‘series compensation’ which would cost €200 million.
The deadline for public submissions is Friday 22nd May. (Now Fri June 5th!)
What happens next?
This public consultation feedback will be processed by EirGrid and the updated strategy will be passed on to the Department of Energy, Community and Natural Resources. The DCENR will then publish its Energy White Paper following which EirGrid will then issue its final Grid Development Strategy.
Word of Warning – EirGrid’s preferred option is still the 400kV overhead pylon route
Contrary to media reports which may have given the impression that the new route options for GridLink contained in the Draft Development Strategy are being considered, EirGrid’s preferred option is still the 400kV overhead pylon route so it is imperative that the public make their views known by making submissions through the public consultation process.
There are enough caveats contained in EirGrid’s Draft Development Strategy which allows the state body to fall back on its preferred option.
That is why a forceful and considered preference among the public and community groups for the two alternative options – undergrounding or the use of the existing pylon infrastructure – is vital.
Other announcements due within the next six months; include:
Route Choice: EirGrid’s announcement on their choice of GridLink route
- The Expert Panel’s review of the integrity of EirGrid’s process for the GridLink route (see below) which is due in September 2015.
- EirGrid’s report on their ‘Review of the need for Grid25’
- The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s review of the health effects of electro-magnetic fields (EMF)
- National Energy Policy to be ready by mid-2015
Expert Panel review of Grid25
The Expert Panel’s expected deliberations on the costing of overground and underground routes
Note: The Expert Panel are not be asked to express a preference or to make any recommendations in relation to overhead or underground options. The panel will simply certify the integrity of the process, with the eventual commissioned material (EirGrid’s) being put out for public debate and, ultimately, for consideration and decision by the planning authorities.
Review of National Energy Policy
The current Green Paper on Energy Policy in Ireland, in effect, a consultative review of energy policy which will form the basis of a revised new national energy policy.
Health Effects of Electro-Magnetic Fields:
The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) are currently reviewing and will eventually issue a report on the potential health effects of electro-magnetic fields emanating from the transmission grid infrastructure upgrade. This is a Health Review update on the DECLG’s 2007 report.
Minister for the Environment and national pylon distance protections
In February 2015 Environment Minister Alan Kelly’s department used its power of veto under the planning acts to remove a Kildare County Development Plan proposal which set down minimum pylon distances from homes. The proposal was a protection from any cancer risks associated with electro-magnetic fields from high voltage pylons which are standard practice in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.