The case for EirGrid’s Grid 25, based on a need to upgrade the transmission system to accommodate additional wind generation and to allow exports via interconnectors, is without sound foundation.

This is according to a report by consultants Malcolm Brown and Dr Anthony White of BW Energy, which has been released this afternoon by ReThink Pylons, a volunteer organisation.

Grid 25, the planned upgrade to the Irish electrical grid, plans to criss-cross the country with hundreds of pylons carrying over a thousand kilometres of high-voltage overhead line.

Among the key findings of the report were: doubling Ireland’s wind power capacity to 3,500 MW threatens to destabilise the entire network, risking power ‘blackouts’; major otherwise unnecessary costs of €3.8bn, €3.2bn for Grid25 and €0.6bn for another interconnector, required to stabilise the system due to increased wind power; and wind exports will become a technical necessity to avoid overloading Ireland’s transmission network.

“The case for Grid25 is not as advertised,” said Malcolm Brown, co-author of the BW Energy report. “Doubling Irish onshore wind capacity to meet 2020 EU targets will be very costly-Irish bill payers deserve a fundamental policy rethink.”

The BW report is the latest in a series of reports to question whether current Government policy is best-suited to meet Ireland’s EU commitments and energy needs. It follows two earlier, recent reports by the Irish Academy of Engineering.

BW Energy is an international specialist energy consultancy providing strategic, financial, regulatory and policy advice in decarbonising energy markets.

The report has been welcomed today by anti-windfarm and anti-pylon activists from around the country, including Cllr Seamus Weir, Mayo on the Grid-West project, Owen McMullan, Tyrone on the North South Inter-connector project, Kieran Hartley, Waterford on the Gridlink project, and Ray Conroy, Laois of Laois Wind Energy Awareness Group.

Image Shutterstock