Eirgrid Resident Submission

NB: Your name and address will automatically appear on the submission upon completion.

EirGrid Submission


Dear Mr. Slye, Mr. Fitzgerald and members of the Grid Development Strategy team

I, like all citizens and residents of Ireland, have an enormous emotional and financial stake in our nation’s energy policy. Many of us have spoken out strongly against the proposed changes to the Grid that would see towering pylons and high voltage cables strung over regions of enormous, but fragile, natural beauty.

I accept that EirGrid has a challenging mission to promote economic growth, while minimizing environmental damage and protecting consumers from excessive cost increases. In this equation ‘best value for the Irish people’ must be a decisive factor. EirGrid’s March 2015 ‘Grid Development Strategy’ suggests the company is more willing than in the past to seek alternatives to the conventional option of simply building new transmission lines. I welcome this opportunity to provide my thoughts on that strategy.

Feedback Procedure:

EirGrid has structured the feedback process in such a way as to filter comment through a pre-set on-line questionnaire. The questions, however, are themselves leading and biased. My comments are thus directed to you through the alternative option offered by EirGrid – the email address yourgridyourviews@eircom.com. As a matter of record, meanwhile, I would point out that to be more fully democratic, a postal address should have been provided for those who do not have access to a computer.

EirGrid ‘s report stipulates that, for a number of projects, new overhead line infrastructure will be required, even on the basis of its new forecast of minimal growth in demand.

The requirement for this additional transmission capacity is driven almost exclusively by the need to accommodate more wind power. I and many others question whether increasing wind generation is a sensible energy policy for Ireland. Nowhere in the current strategy document has EirGrid addressed the question of how many of the other proposed transmission projects would be necessary if there were no further expansion of wind power. This is a critical item that must now be addressed.

There are alternatives to on-shore wind available. I am aware, for example, of the report by independent energy consultants, BW Energy, that indicates that conversion of Moneypoint to UN certified sustainable biomass would be a more cost effective way to meet Ireland’s commitment to the EU Renewable Energy Directive. Conversion of coal fired Moneypoint to sustainable biomass -re-engineering existing plant - requires no new transmission infrastructure, no new wind farms and meets Ireland's EU 2020 renewable electricity targets much more cost effectively than doubling onshore wind power. Is that option being rigorously investigated and discussed?

EirGrid, of course, is not alone in its responsibility on these issues. Government should take an alternative approach to meeting its climate change and renewable energy obligations. To meet EU targets, our leaders have committed to expanding the contribution of renewables to electricity generation from the current 20% to 40% by 2020.

In doing so, however, Government should not just assume that it should take the “well-trod path” and continue to expand onshore wind, with all the associated additional pylons. Rather, it should look at other options, particularly the use of sustainable biomass. Such innovative thinking is essential if we are to protect Ireland's core tourism and bloodstock industries.

I will be grateful for your replies to the questions and concerns raised here.

Yours sincerely,

[your signature]

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