A NEW 250km high-voltage power line will almost certainly run through land in Kilkenny, requiring three or four pylons to be constructed along every kilometre of land.
Kilkenny is in the centre of the new scheme’s ‘proposed study area’, which is the area of land through which the pylon corridor will ultimately be constructed. The 400kV line will link power stations in Cork, Wexford and Kildare.
The €500 million scheme is currently in a non-statutory public consultation phase, with representatives from grid operator Eirgrid holding a meeting in Kilkenny’s Ormonde Hotel last week. The purpose of the consultation is to gather information from people with local knowledge, to identify geographical, built, or cultural features that may preclude certain routes from selection.
IFA President Kilkenny’s John Bryan has said that it is vital for Eirgrid to adequately liaise with all landowners and farmers who will be affected by the scheme.
“It is very important that proper consultation takes place, to avoid the problems that have happened in the past,” he said.
The IFA President also says that there is no doubt that pylons devalue land - a charge that the ESB denies.
When the final route of the new grid has been established, Eirgrid will have a way leave to construct it through whatever land it wishes. Last year, a woman in Offaly was jailed for her refusal to allow the ESB and Eirgrid onto her land to build a power line there.
Eirgrid argues that the scheme will make the region far more attractive for companies thinking of locating there. Intel’s facility at Leixlip, which employs 4,000 people, uses the same amount of electricity each day as Kilkenny City.
“There is a particular need for this in the southeast ,” says Grid Link project manager John Lowry.
“One of the main reasons Intel chose to locate where they did was because of the strong reliable energy network there. Companies looking to invest here – the first door they knock on is the Government’s, the second is Eirgrid’s.
Mr Lowry said that the locals who had attended the consultation had approached it positively.
“I think people are welcoming the fact that Eirgrid are here in Kilkenny in week three of what is an eight to ten-year project,” he said.
Eirgrid says that all public submissions will be considered and analysed regarding the various constraints. The project will be due again for a second round of public consultation in late 2012, while Eirgrid hopes to submit final plans to An Bord Pleanala in 2015.
Public feedback may still be submitted until Friday, June 8 via email at email@example.com or telephone 1890-422122.