Dublin 1 July 2014
The Independent Expert Panel
(the Panel) considering EirGrid’s Grid West and Grid Link projects has held six
meetings between 10 February 2014 and 30 June 2014. The Panel was appointed by
Mr. Pat Rabbitte, TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources,
on foot of a Government decision. 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 (GW) and Grid Link (GL) projects. That
process is now underway and the Panel expects to be in a position to provide an
opinion to the Minister on the GW project in January 2015. An opinion on the GL
project is not expected to be provided until around end-July 2015.
While the North South
Transmission Line project (N/S) is not covered by the Government’s decision, the
Panel agreed, on foot of a request by the Minister, to provide an opinion to the
Minister on the compatibility of the methodologies to be employed on the GW and
GL projects with what has already been done on the N/S project.
The Panel has, since early
May, been mainly focussed on the N/S project. Specifically, the Panel, on 7 May
2014, requested EirGrid to submit to the Panel an assessment of the extent to
which, in EirGrid’s view, the methodologies to be employed on the GW and GL
projects are compatible with what has already been done on the N/S project.
EirGrid submitted a report to the Panel on 29 May 2014. Having considered the
report, the Panel then met with EirGrid on 10 June 2014 to discuss the report
and relevant matters. Various matters requiring additional written material
arose and EirGrid were requested to submit supplementary written material in
response to those matters. EirGrid’s supplementary material was submitted to the
Panel on 19 June 2014. The Panel met to discuss the supplementary material on 30
Having considered and
discussed all of the material, the Panel is unanimously of the opinion that, in
all material respects, what has already been done on the N/S project is
compatible with the methodologies now being employed on the GW and GL projects.
While the Panel acknowledges that no two grid infrastructure projects are
identical, and that some non-comparabilities are likely to arise when assessing
the potential environmental impacts, technical efficacy and cost factors, the
Panel is of the opinion that no material differences in the methodologies arise.
The Panel also notes that
the N/S project is part of an on-going process which, the Panel expects, will be
subjected to a rigorous assessment as part of the planning processes in both
jurisdictions (Ireland and Northern Ireland). It is also the case that such
planning processes allow potential objectors to the N/S project to register
their objections and to have them considered by the planning authorities.
Having provided this opinion
to the Minister today, the Panel has now completed its consideration of the N/S