Converting the country’s largest power station to burn renewable energy crops instead of coal would eliminate the need to erect thousands of pylons, it has been claimed.
A new report from anti-pylon group Rethink Pylons says converting Moneypoint power station, in Clare, from a coal to a biomass plant would help Ireland meet renewable energy targets at a fraction of the cost of the €3.2bn planned upgrade of the national grid.
The report, compiled by British consultancy firm BW Energy, says the upgrade would cost just €380m.
It says that biomass-crops – grown specifically for energy production – could be used to reduce carbon emissions and avoid the need to erect high-voltage power lines. This would eliminate the need for the Grid25 upgrade and further development of onshore wind farms, it claims.
But the Green Party said converting Moneypoint would require 10 million tonnes of wood per year, 20 times the domestic supply available.
Eirgrid also said the proposal failed to address the need to upgrade the grid, which was required to attract companies and supply power.
The report was released on the same day as the annual conference of the Irish Wind Energy Association, which announced plans to more than double the number of wind turbines by 2030.