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Electricity Europe Republic of Ireland

North-South Interconnector Report Backs Above-Ground Pylons

An independent review into Ireland’s proposed north-south interconnector has backed the plan to build the electricity-sharing infrastructure above ground.

The interconnector is a major project to link the electricity grids on both sides of the border.

It aims to improve electricity efficiency and lower the cost of power generation across the island, as well as ensuring the security of electricity supply.

However the long-running project has faced a number of legal challenges.

The scheme would require pylons along an 85-mile (138km) overhead electricity line stretching from County Tyrone to County Meath.

Some opponents are against the interconnector completely, while others would prefer to see it built underground.

However a report, external commissioned by Ireland’s Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications said the decision to build the interconnector above ground remained valid.

It was commissioned to evaluate the findings of a 2018 report, which looked at different methods of building the interconnector.

It said that an underground interconnector would not provide the reliability and stability needed, so the benefits to the consumer would be less.

Last December a new report found that the proposed interconnector would improve the efficiency of electricity transmission across the island.

It also found that it would allow for higher levels of renewable energy to be used.

The southern section of the project was first granted planning permission in the Republic of Ireland in 2016.

The northern section was given the go-ahead by then-Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon in 2020 after previous consent in the absence of a minister was quashed.

Analysis: Tough decisions and rapid change needed

by Louise Cullen, BBC News NI environment correspondent

Decarbonising energy supply is key to many of the shifts needed to reach net zero – from changing how we heat and power our homes to how we travel from A to B.

But the controversy over the north-south interconnector shows just how fraught the path can be.

For some, protecting the environment means preserving the beauty we can see.

For others, it’s stopping the impact of continued fossil fuel use on the heating of the planet.

For still others, it’s all of the above.

Energy supply contributes 13% of our greenhouse gas emissions, according to the latest inventory from the department.

And we share a common goal with the Republic of getting 80% energy from renewables by 2030. That will only happen with tough decisions and a lot of rapid change.

Source : BBC