Eirgrid received 35,000 submissions from the public on the planned €500m pylon corridor from Cork to Kildare.
A report evaluating these submissions is to be drawn up by Eirgrid and presented to Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, who has asked for “an initial list of the main issues raised”. Mr Rabbitte expects that by the end of the month he will be able to make a statement to the Dáil on the report.
The minister met with the board and senior Eirgrid management yesterday, afterwards declaring “the value of the public consultation will be determined by the character of the response to the issues raised”.
There has been enormous opposition to the planned Grid Link 400kV corridor of pylons from Munster to Leinster and sharp criticism of the earlier public consultation process which led to it being extended into this year.
Objectors have claimed the 45m-high pylons will destroy the landscape, pose a health risk to children and devalue homes. They also claimed the project was to allow more wind energy to be exported to Britain and France. They are demanding that the new powerlines be placed underground.
However, Mr Rabbitte and Eirgrid have warned that this could increase the cost of the project three times over.
Under its licence Eirgrid is obliged to plan the transmission network in the most safe, secure, economic, and reliable way possible, said Mr Rabbite.
Eirgrid, for its part, has said underground cables are less reliable, more costly, could introduce technical difficulties, and were not the right fit from a technical perspective on projects such as the 400kV proposals.
According to Eirgrid, Grid Link is essential to ensure that Ireland’s future energy needs are met.
“Our most recent 10-year forecast, published earlier this year, states that peak demand for electricity is expected to increase by 12.6% between now and 2022,” said a spokesman.
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