To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the position regarding the work of the expert group reviewing the Gridlink project; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Martin Heydon.

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 25th September, 2014.

Ref No: 36339/14 Proof: 296

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. Alex White T.D.)
I propose to take questions number 271 and 274 together.
The Independent Expert Panel (the Panel) was asked by the Government to oversee the integrity of a process to be undertaken by EirGrid to report on the Grid West and Grid Link projects. That process is underway and the Panel expects to be in a position to provide an opinion to the Minister on the Grid West project in January 2015. An opinion on the Grid Link project is expected to be provided by the Panel to the Minister towards the end of July 2015.
The Grid Link project is part of EirGrid’s “Grid25” plan to develop and upgrade the electricity transmission network to meet Ireland’s future electricity transmission needs, from security, sustainability and competitiveness perspectives. Various overhead line route corridor options have been identified for the project. Work is ongoing to identify options for underground cable routes.
EirGrid does not anticipate that it will be in a position to submit a planning application for the Grid Link project to An Bord Pleanála until 2016.