North-South Interconnector: Overhead line ‘most beneficial’

A report has concluded that an overhead line is the most beneficial way of meeting the need for enhanced power transfer capability between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The report is one of two independent studies that have been commissioned by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, on the North-South Interconnector (NSIC).

Both have been considered by Government at its meeting yesterday (Tuesday, October 2).

The NSIC is a proposed €286 million investment that will connect the electricity grids of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The 400kV line will run through counties Monaghan, Cavan and Meath, Armagh and Tyrone.

The first report addressed the technical feasibility and cost of undergrounding the link while the second report considered comparative international practice and approaches to compensation of property owners in proximity to high-voltage lines.

In terms of comparative practice to compensation, the second report indicates that Ireland has a generous compensation regime in place.

Minister Naughten will forward copies of the two reports to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment and both reports are available on the department’s website link here.

EirGrid reaction

In a statement, EirGrid has said it welcomes the findings of two independent studies into the NSIC.

EirGrid Group chief executive Mark Foley said it was “reassuring” that the commission endorsed the overhead line solution that has received planning approval in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“We welcome the publication of the reports commissioned by Minister Naughten, and acknowledge the independence and integrity of the studies.

We have considered all possible options regarding the delivery of the interconnector and are encouraged that the panel has concluded that an overhead line is the most beneficial way.

EirGrid claims the interconnector will underpin the efficient operation of the all-island electricity market, fixing a bottle-neck that costs millions of euro every year and apply a downward pressure on electricity prices.