Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
39. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the engagements, including meetings, briefings and so on, he has had regarding the North-South interconnector since taking office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9296/21]
The North South interconnector is a vital piece of national electricity infrastructure and critical to ensuring a safe, secure and competitive source of electricity in Ireland. The Interconnector is therefore part of regular discussions between myself and officials on an ongoing basis.
The project is vitally important to the development of our energy infrastructure and it is critical to improving the efficient operation of Single Electricity Market and increasing the security of supply across Ireland on an all island basis. Its delivery is also consistent with commitments made in the Programme for Government to move towards 70% renewable electricity on the grid by 2030.
EirGrid and ESB Networks, as our electricity system operators, always seek to work in close collaboration with landowners and stakeholders in the delivery of electricity infrastructure. Both companies are engaging with those living closest to the route of the interconnector. In that regard EirGrid has already set in place a variety of engagements locally, including the appointment of community liaison officers and a mobile information unit active in the area. I expect such engagements to intensify in the coming months, subject of course to national public health guidelines on Covid-19.
I believe that this important new cross-Border infrastructure will significantly facilitate the integration of renewable energy into the power system, will bring economic benefits to the region and can address our climate objectives on the island of Ireland.