Northern Ireland

Cross-border electricity connector planning application to be submitted

Electricity pylons Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The north-south interconnector is planned to link the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and the Republic

Plans for a £250m electricity inter-connector across the Irish border will take a step closer later.

The Republic of Ireland's power grid operator EirGrid is to submit a planning application for the long-delayed scheme.

It has already said overhead lines are the most cost-effective option for what will be a second connection between the two networks.

They will join between Woodland, County Meath, and Turleenan, County Tyrone.

Environmental and health campaigners had wanted the cables placed underground.

Exact details of the application, to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála, will not be disclosed until a ten-week public consultation process starts on 16 June.

The project, which will take three years to complete, was meant to have been ready by 2017.

EirGrid is submitting the application for the southern half of the project.

In Northern Ireland, the lead is being taken by System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) and a separate planning application is before the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC).

Targets

But its public inquiry was adjourned several years ago pending the submission of detailed environmental information that has only recently been provided.

In a statement, the Department of the Environment said: "The information will be advertised in the local press, giving the public opportunity to make comment."

It will also consult with public bodies before requesting that the PAC resumes the inquiry.

But a timetable has yet to be set.

The inter-connector project has three purposes - to deliver security of electricity supply to Northern Ireland, reduce costs to consumers and help achieve targets on renewable energy.

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