Eirgrid could face stiff opposition to aspects of its €1bn project to import electricity from France, after announcing its preferred site in Co Cork for a major electrical converter station.
Eirgrid is in discussions with Cork County Council officials to see if it is possible to use some or all of the proposed greenway between Youghal and Midleton to duct cabling for part of a €1 billion electricity interconnector between France and Ireland.
Residents of an East Cork community fear their locality may be chosen for a third Eirgrid development after the State-owned electricity operator indicated it would be carrying out tests in the area for a potential international connection with the continent.
Anti-pylon protesters have claimed their stance has been vindicated by the UK National Grid’s decision to spend £500m (€628m) on scrapping Britain’s “biggest and ugliest” pylons and burying the electricity cables underground.
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.
The Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte is to be told by a county council that Eirgrid’s plans for a major overhead powerline will be a blight on the landscape and may lead to serious health and economic implications.
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.