Eirgrid will consider upgrading its existing pylon lines after publishing a draft strategy for the development of Ireland’s transmission grid.
The analysis also reveals that undergrounding the power lines wouldn’t prove as expensive as first thought.
There has been plenty of local opposition to the project because one of the alternative paths under consideration passes through west Wicklow. However, the possibility of upgrading the current network may mean there is no need to erect further pylons.
‘I welcome the news that EirGrid are now giving serious consideration to upgrading existing pylon lines,’ says Cllr Edward Timmins.
‘I am glad that they are at least considering all options rather than just rail-roading through a plan which so many local people are opposed to. It is only right that EirGrid should take the general public’s feelings on board as well.’
Anne Ferris TD has also given the ‘Your Grid, Your Views, Your Tomorrow’ draft strategy a tentative welcome, particularly the possibility of upgrading the lines.
‘The existing pylon line does not take this route through west Wicklow so on this basis its upgrade would not affect our landscape.
‘The route that EirGrid had been considering through Wicklow was through the foothills of the mountains and unsuited to undergrounding according to the reports of EirGrid’s own experts.
‘Given the new options proposed, I can’t see the Wicklow route being suitable at all for the type of comparison EirGrid will now carry out.’
If the Wicklow route doesn’t happen it could also have a knock-on affect over the development of wind farms says Ms Ferris.
‘This news also calls into question the plans by Coillte and ESB to develop wind farms in south Wicklow. Suddenly this area is not as attractive as it was for the wind farm developers because the new grid will most likely be somewhere else. It is reaching the stage where wind farm developers need to start reconsidering their own plans.’
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