EirGrid Welcomes Conclusion of Independent Expert Panel Review on Grid Link Project

08 October 2015

EirGrid has today welcomed the statement issued by the Government-appointed Independent Expert Panel* in relation to its review of EirGrid’s report on the Grid Link project.

The EirGrid report to the Panel set out an analysis of alternative options to meet the need of the Grid Link project. The report considered both overhead and underground solutions in respect of environmental, technological and economic criteria. In addition to this, EirGrid set out a new and innovative technical solution, referred to as the ‘Regional Option’, based on technology which is capable of strengthening the existing grid infrastructure in the region. This meets the needs of the project without building new large scale overhead infrastructure.

The ‘regional option’ alternative was first published by EirGrid in March 2015, in its ‘Your Grid Your Views’ draft strategy document where the company set out three strategic pillars for developing the grid; open engagement with communities, making the most of new technologies and a commitment to make the existing grid work harder before building new transmission infrastructure.

The Regional Option uses a technology known as ‘series compensation’. This would be the first time it will be deployed on the Irish transmission grid. It is an advanced, smart grid technology that will enable more power to flow through existing lines, and so does not require new 400 kV overhead lines. To complete this solution, an underwater cable across the Shannon estuary is required in addition to some upgrade works to existing transmission lines.

Welcoming the Panel’s report Mr Fintan Slye, Chief Executive, EirGrid, said “The emergence of the new ‘Regional Option’ means there is now no requirement to proceed with the previously proposed Grid Link 400 kV overhead line.

I am very pleased today to confirm that we will now be moving ahead to deliver what I believe is a better option for all concerned. Finally, I would like to thank those communities who took the time to engage with us and provided us with such valuable feedback.”