Carrick-on-Suir councillors clashed with Eirgrid representatives at a Town Council meeting last week over the State company’s plans to build Grid Link as an overhead powerline rather than underground.
Councillors passed a motion at the meeting calling on Eirgrid to place the 400kv powerline underground.
Cllr O’Loughlin, who tabled the motion, maintained undergrounding of powerlines was quite common in parts of Europe. If it cost more to do so and prevented the landscape from being blighted by pylons, so what, he declared.
Cllr Patsy Fitzgerald said an underground line was built in Holland in the last few years and argued that advances in technology in recent years had significantly reduced the cost of undergrounding cables. This cost would be reduced further by 2020, the target date for the completion of Grid Link.
But Edel Leddin of Eirgrid said the technical difficulties with having an underground powerline of 250kms in length rather than the extra cost was the primary reason they ruled out this option. She explained an underground powerline of this length carrying the AC (Alternative Current) electricity used in this country was not technically possible as it would pose a huge amount of technical difficulties on the network and not provide the reliability of electricity supply required.
Ms Leddin said the world’s longest AC underground cable was 40km long in Japan and there was also a 20km line in London.
The underground interconnector power line between Ireland and England used a different DC (Direct Current) suitable for connecting the electricity supplies of two countries. But it was not technologically feasible and practical to use DC in the Grid Link project, she added.