Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Questions (194)

Shane Cassells


194. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the course of action he plans to take in respect of the North-South interconnector project having considered the two independent reports; and if he will support an over ground or an underground option of the pylon project. [41486/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I commissioned two independent reports dealing with the North-South Interconnector (NSIC) following engagement with members of the Oireachtas and community interests. These were considered by Government earlier this month and are available on my Department's website. One considers the technical feasibility and cost of undergrounding the NSIC, while the second addresses comparative international practice and approaches to compensation of property owners in proximity to high-voltage lines.

On the technical feasibility and cost of undergrounding, the report concludes that from a techno-economic point of view, an Alternating Current Overhead Line is the most beneficial way of meeting the need for enhanced power transfer capability between Ireland and Northern Ireland. An overhead line provides the opportunity for investment along the route of the line and offers a far more balanced electricity network across this country and across this island.

On the report into the comparative international practice in relation to compensation, that report indicates that Ireland has a comparatively generous compensation regime in place.

In addition to publishing the reports on my Department's website, I have forwarded copies of the two Reports to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

The development of the interconnector is an operational matter for EirGrid and ESB Networks.