South Tipp pylons may be scrapped

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

Anti-pylon campaigners fighting to stop part of the proposed Grid Link powerline carried by 45m high pylons passing through South Tipperary have received a glimmer of hope with Eirgrid’s announcement that upgrading existing powerlines in the South East is an alternative option it is considering.

Anti-pylon campaigners fighting to stop part of the proposed Grid Link powerline carried by 45m high pylons passing through South Tipperary have received a glimmer of hope with Eirgrid’s announcement that upgrading existing powerlines in the South East is an alternative option it is considering.

Eirgrid revealed it was examining the feasibility of upgrading some of the existing transmission lines as an alternative to the overhead powerline and underground options for Grid Link last Friday.

There has been a mixed reaction in South Tipperary to Eirgrid’s announcement.

Fine Gael Minister of State Tom Hayes said this new option will ease the concerns of people across Tipperary, while assuring our energy needs for the future are secure.

But Pete Smith of the Faugheen Anti-Pylons Group believes Eirgrid is just “spinning” and this new option will ultimately be rejected by the Independent Expert Panel that will assess the three proposals for Gridlink because it won’t be regarded as the best value for money in the long term.

Cahir apple farmer Con Traas, who has addressed several anti-pylon public meetings in the county, said it was definitely a positive development but whether this new option would happen or not in the end was very difficult to say.

Meanwhile, Eirgrid said the new alternative option that could address the need to reinforce the transmission system in the South East without having to build new infrastructure was possible due to changing electricity demand forecasts, a slower rate of economic growth and advances in technology.

“Upgrading some of the existing transmission lines would make it possible to introduce a technology known as ‘series compensation’ onto the grid for the first time.

“This new equipment would allow Eirgrid to put more power on existing lines and address the problems on the system.”

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