EirGrid is the designated Transmission System Operator and its role includes the operation, maintenance and development of the electricity transmission network in Ireland. The construction of the North South Interconnector is an operational matter for EirGrid and ESB Networks and one in which I have no function.
I have every confidence in the ability of EirGrid and ESB Networks to deliver this project to the very highest standards of international best practice.
The option of undergrounding the proposed North-South Interconnector has been comprehensively assessed on several occasions. My Department most recently published an independent study in October 2018 on undergrounding the interconnector which found that an overhead line remains the most appropriate option. I do not intend ordering a further review of the project as part of the review of the National Development Plan.
I believe that this important new cross-Border infrastructure will significantly facilitate the integration of renewable energy into the power system in line with the Programme for Government, will improve the efficient operation of the all-island Single Electricity Market, increase the security of electricity supply in Ireland and Northern Ireland, will bring economic benefits to the region and can address our climate objectives on the island of Ireland.