On Tuesday 25th of May a Bill seeking a review group to examine the route of the North-South Interconnector passed the first stage in the Dáil. The group will be required to submit a report on the placement of the Interconnector’s power cables to the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications. The Bill is Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín’s second on the issue and he is seeking to have the cost to the value of homes, farms, businesses and enterprises included in the full cost of this project.
Speaking to the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action on the 27th of April, EirGrid CEO Mark Foley was asked several questions about the North-South Interconnector to which he firmly responded that a HVDC cable of this length (~140km) cannot be delivered underground without putting the entire system at risk and that underground HVDC on this scale would effectively create two separate systems on the island.
When asked about the progress of the Bill on Thursday 27th of May, Minister Ryan responded stating that the option of undergrounding the North-South Interconnector has been comprehensively assessed on several occasions. In October 2018 an independent report, commissioned by DECC, incorporating international industry expertise to examine the technical feasibility and cost of undergrounding the North-South Interconnector was published. It found that an overhead line remains the most appropriate option. Despite this, Minister Ryan has commissioned a further short review to assess if the findings from 2018 remain valid.