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Pylon project ‘really an attempt to make us windmill of Europe’  

Credit:  By Claire O'Sullivan, Irish Examiner Reporter | January 09, 2014 | www.irishexaminer.com ~~

Eirgrid’s plans to carry out an 18-month survey of the ocean floor between Ireland and France with a view to having a €1bn powerline between both countries is being described as further evidence that the controversial pylon project is really about exporting energy.

Two possible routes have been identified for the interconnector and both start at sites which form part of the €500m Gridlink pylon corridor. The two possible routes identified are from Knochraha, near Roche’s Point in Cork, and from Great Island in Wexford. The interconnector would end at La Martyre on the west coast of Brittany.

Noelle Murphy of Knockraha Area Comm-unity Association said this project underscored the group’s belief that the pylon project is all about “making Ireland the windmill of Europe”.

“The Taoiseach talks about Gridlink being about jobs but we and many others have always believed that this was about creating a new export market and so far, we are only being given information about the future of our communities on a ‘need to know’ basis which means we have been kept in the dark. We want honesty,” she said.

Sinead Finn of New Ross Against Pylons pointed to an RTÉ interview yesterday where Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte strongly denied the pylon project was about the export of electricity to Britain.

“No, no, no. That is absolutely not the case… that is a separate technology and a separate project,” he said in the interview.

Ms Finn said: “Minister Rabbitte’s response just doesn’t add up as the first page of the Eirgrid brochure states that one of the benefits of the project is the possible electricity links with Britain and France. It clearly states that ‘interconnections will enhance the electricity market by facilitating competition leading to downward pressure on electricity prices and increasing security of supply.”

France’s grid operator is also taking part in the feasibility study, which is due to begin in March of this year. Eirgrid already operates the €570m East West interconnector, which runs under the sea from Dublin to Wales.

A spokesman for Eirgrid said last night that it had “a statutory obligation to explore and develop opportunities for the interconnection of Ireland’s electricity system with other systems”.

“Projects like the potential interconnector allow Ireland to further integrate into the European energy market and, by doing so, enhance security of supply and help lower energy costs through connecting and trading with the largest single energy market,” he said.

Meanwhile, An Taisce has called on the Government to produce a national energy policy that clearly outlines how the energy requirements of future generations can be met in the face of climate change. It also pointed out that the Government has not legislated for or issued guidelines in response to the European Landscape Convention.

“The State has failed to set a clear methodology for how landscape should be assessed, protected and managed,” said James Nix, An Taisce policy director.

Source:  By Claire O'Sullivan, Irish Examiner Reporter | January 09, 2014 | www.irishexaminer.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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