The gradual conversion of the country’s largest power station from coal to biomass would allow Ireland to meet its renewable energy targets “in one single stroke”, according to a British energy expert who completed a report for one of the country’s anti-pylon groups.
Last month’s establishment of a commission to consider if the grim prospect of super-sized pylons strung across our attractive countryside might be averted by burying 440kV power lines seemed as good a kick to touch as anything contrived by the splendid Johnny Sexton at the Aviva stadium on Saturday.
Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte’s decision to review the planned construction of hundreds of pylons and high-voltage power lines across the country is a shrewd political move. It will give coalition TDs space to answer angry voters on the doorsteps, as opposition grows over Eirgrid’s plans to extend the national grid.
Eirgrid’s plans to carry out an 18-month survey of the ocean floor between Ireland and France with a view to having a €1bn powerline between both countries is being described as further evidence that the controversial pylon project is really about exporting energy.
As the State prepares to wave goodbye to the troika, many of us citizens are experiencing a slightly schizophrenic sensation: we welcome the return of relative economic sovereignty, but at the same time we might regret the fact that not even the troika was able to dislodge the perception that there exists a real disconnect between the Irish people and some of the more exalted elements of our state and semi-state apparatus.