Campaign calls for NI to Ireland electricity grid connection to be built underground

  • Plans to connect Northern Ireland's energy grid to the Republic of Ireland have come under fire due to the use of overhead high-voltage lines rather than underground power lines.

    Plans to connect the electricity grids in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland together with a new North South Interconnector have been in the works for a long time, but the project has been controversial for a number of reasons. The Northern Ireland portion of the interconnector would be carried by overhead cable across Tyrone and Armagh to County Meath.

    The Safe Electricity Armagh and Tyrone SEAT group has been campaigning for changes to the plan, replacing the proposed high voltage overhead cable with an underground line. The overhead cable would run over farmland belonging to a number of different parties, and would impose on the landscape far more than an underground cable.

    A decision on the North South Interconnector is expected to be made soon, but SEAT has raised additional objections calling for the project to be delayed. The campaigners say that SONI’s PAC report and consultation process on the project is now out of date and some of its main findings on the deficit of supply in NI have since changed.

    SEAT has also raised the issue that properties near the electric pylons could drop in value by 10-20%, and that the Department for the Economy is currently developing a new strategy for decarbonisation of the NI energy grid by 2050. That report will be published by the end of 2021 and could impact any decision made on the interconnector today.

    Jim Lennon, chair of SEAT, commented "We recognise the need for a secure energy network for Northern Ireland, and we want to make it clear that SEAT is not opposing an underground interconnector. We, along with all the landowners and affected residents on the proposed route, are however vehemently opposed to the use of a dangerous, very high voltage, overhead interconnector. Eirgrid agree that undergrounding a 400kv line is a viable option."

    Source: Written based on press release

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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