The East West Interconnector (EWIC), connects the electricity transmission grids of Ireland and GB and is key national infrastructure, facilitating increased renewables operation and decarbonising the transmission systems. EirGrid owns and operates EWIC, managed in partnership with Hitachi ABB Power Grids. The EWIC asset is 260 km in length, 186 km of which is beneath the Irish Sea. The asset includes onshore Converter Stations in Ireland (Portan, County Meath) and Great Britain (Shotten, North Wales).
At the Portan Converter Station site, approximately four hectares of the seven hectare site is dominated by an unmanaged grassland meadow, with intensely managed amenity grassland areas, and a small area of native woodland plantation also present.
EirGrid is funding an evidence-based approach to biodiversity enhancement at the Portan site during a three year pilot project. Iterative stakeholder engagement with the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), Meath County Council, and the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland has been and will continue to be central to deciding management actions, such as a ‘low intervention’ management approach, in lieu of habitat creation.