Dublin, 29 April 2015
Statement by the Independent Expert Panel
29 April, 2015
The Independent Expert Panel (the Panel) considering EirGrid's Grid West and Grid Link projects was appointed by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, on foot of a Government decision in January 2014.
In line with the Government decision, the Panel was asked to oversee the integrity of a process to be undertaken by EirGrid to report on the Grid West and Grid Link projects. That process has been underway since January 2014. In May 2014 the Panel approved the Terms of Reference for comprehensive, route specific studies/reports of fully undergrounded and overhead options for each of the Grid West and Grid Link projects, including assessments of potential environmental impacts, technical efficacy and cost factors. The Panel's requirements in terms of the studies/reports are set out in those Terms of Reference. The study/report for Grid West was undertaken by Eirgrid and the Panel oversaw EirGrid's study/reporting process. A similar process is ongoing in respect of the Grid Link project.
Grid West Study/Report
EirGrid provided its report on the Grid West project to the Panel in early February. The Panel's members considered the report individually prior to a meeting of the Panel to discuss the report on 24 February 2015. The individual and collective considerations raised 88 comments and queries. Those comments and queries were referred to EirGrid. The Secretary to the Panel met with EirGrid on 12 March 2015 to step through each of the comments and queries. EirGrid considered same and submitted a revised report to the Panel on 30 March 2015. The revised report was considered by the Panel who made some final suggestions to EirGrid for minor amendment to the report prior to publication. The Panel is satisfied that all of the comments and queries have been attended to satisfactorily.
Having now completed its analysis of EirGrid's Grid West report, the Panel has provided its opinion to the Minister. The Panel is unanimously of the opinion that the EirGrid report is complete and objective. The report also allows underground and overhead options to be compared against each other, and in particular to be assessed and analysed in respect of technical, economic and environmental characteristics. Accordingly, the Panel is fully satisfied that EirGrid carried out and completed the report in full accordance with the Terms of Reference for the report set by the Panel. The Panel understands that EirGrid will soon publish the report for public consultation and will be seeking public feedback on each of the options presented.
Issued by the Independent Expert Panel considering EirGrid's Grid West and Grid Link projects:
- Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, Chairperson
- Professor Keith Bell
- Professor John FitzGerald
- Dr. Karen Foley
- Mr. Colm McCarthy
Queries may be directed to the Secretary of the Independent Expert Panel at: firstname.lastname@example.org