Northern Ireland

Overhead lines 'most appropriate' for north-south interconnector, EirGrid says

Electricity pylons Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The north-south interconnector is planned to link the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and the Republic

Campaigners have reacted angrily after the Republic of Ireland's power-grid operator said overhead lines are the most appropriate solution for a cross-border interconnector.

Objectors want the cabling - which would run between County Meath and County Tyrone - to run underground.

The £250m project is planned to link the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and the Republic.

And EirGrid says overhead lines are the best option.

One campaigner, John Woods, said that he and fellow objectors would remain defiant in their opposition to the plans.

Competitive

"EirGrid and Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) have to recognise that this is not the most appropriate option for the thousands of people living along the line of the interconnector," he said.

"Modern European countries are now using underground cables but we continue to use this age-old technology."

But in a new draft strategy published today, EirGrid said a 400,000-volt overhead line remains the most suitable option for the project.

The company's chief executive Fintan Slye said: "EirGrid must ensure the necessary grid is in place to ensure that Ireland remains competitive."

"It must do this without placing too great a burden on communities, or too high a cost on industry."

Cheaper

At present, cross-border electricity suppliers are not able to share electricity at peak times in the volumes they would like.

It means cheaper surplus electricity generated on one side of the border cannot be easily shared by customers on the other side.

EirGrid intends to submit a planning application for the development in the coming weeks.

The interconnector - a joint proposal between EirGrid and NIE - links a substation in Woodland, County Meath, with a planned substation in Turleenan, near the village of Moy, in County Tyrone.

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