Thursday, 7 November 2013
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Electricity Transmission Network
146. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the technical reasons Eirgrid pursue a general policy of not undergrounding electricity powerlines in Grid 25; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47526/13]
Neither the Government nor I seek to direct the energy infrastructure developers to particular technologies, sites or routes as was made clear in the July 2012 Government Policy Statement on the Strategic Importance of Transmission and Other Energy Infrastructure. That statement emphasises that these are matters for the developers and for the forward planning process through regional and local development plans and at project level through the development management process. In this context, energy infrastructure developers are encouraged to work with the forward planning processes at regional and local levels to set clear contexts for assessment of individual applications for planning consent and to facilitate as wide a degree of consensus as possible as to how and where to meet grid development needs. The Government, as detailed in the July 2012 Policy Statement expects the companies in making their choices of project specific technologies and routing, as well as mitigation measures, to take account of all relevant national and international standards, to follow best practice and ensure value for money and be informed by detailed consultation at local level. My understanding is that there is no single solution for any particular development and that technical solutions must be project specific. I also understand that conventional overhead line is still the most common solution adopted worldwide and still offers significantly lower investment costs than any underground alternative.