Paddy Massey, a Lismore based spokesperson for ReThink Pylons has urged the Government and Eirgrid to consider alternatives to the Grid Link Project and move away from pylons, turbines and wind energy.
Opposition group ReThink Pylons also called for a moratorium on the development of pylons and wind energy infrastructure while alternative options are being evaluated.
Mr Massey was speaking after the release of a new report compiled by energy consultant Malcolm Brown of BW Energy which recommended a biomass alternative to the €500m Grid Link Project.
Mr Brown was a guest speaker in Dungarvan at a large-scale meeting on Friday night which attracted over 350 people from Munster and the South East.
During the meeting opposition group ReThink Pylons called on the Government to re-examine its energy policy and asked for a fundamental revaluation of Grid Link, Grid 25 and associated projects. An invite was sent to Eirgrid, however, they declined to send a representative.
Independent TD John Halligan, Fine Gael TD Paudie Coffey and Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane all attended while Labour TD Ciara Conway sent her apologies after she was unable to attend.
Mr Massey, spokesperson for ReThink Pylons welcomed the publication of the new report. “I lived in England for nine years and a few years I moved home because I wanted my kids to have the same kind of upbringing I had,” Mr Massey said. “Now the entire countryside could be ruined.”
Mr Massey of the Bride and Blackwater Against Pylons group claimed that Eirgrid had been inconsistent in relation to their views on wind farms and the exportation of energy. “Right from the outset [project manager] John Lowry said in Dungarvan that Grid Link had absolutely nothing to do with renewable energy,” he said. “They have done a complete U-turn now on what they’ve said.”
Mr Massey welcomed the publication of the report which was compiled by consultant Mr Brown and Dr Anthony White. The report, ‘Review of the Irish Government’s Strategy for Compliance with the European Directive 2009/28’, was released last week.
In the report Mr Brown recommended the conversion of Ireland’s largest power station, Moneypoint in Co Clare from coal to biomass which he claimed was a low cost alternative to Grid25. He said it would make it possible to meet Irish renewable energy targets for 2020 “at a single stroke while protecting Irish jobs and safeguarding the countryside from pylon blight”.
At an estimated cost of €380 million, the English energy expert stated the conversion of Moneypoint would enable Ireland to meet its renewable energy target at a tenth of the €3.8 billion cost of the Government’s current plan.
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