LOCAL objectors to a proposed new high-voltage power line linking Dunmanway to Macroom have vowed to continue their opposition to the project following an An Bord Pleanála oral hearing held in Macroom last week.
The hearing heard that Eirgrid proposes to build a new €20 million, 40km-long 100KV double power line between the Clashavoon substation 10km north-east of Macroom and the Dunmanway substation.
The company say the new line is necessary to ensure the security of future electricity supply in the region and to enable the future renewable energy capacity of the region such as wind farms to be connected to the grid.
Submissions were made by a large number of objectors to the proposals ranging from the Community Before Pylons lobby group to private individuals.
Objectors contend that the proposed line is no longer needed due to the recession, would damage the scenic rural landscape and its construction may even facilitate the spread of tuberculosis among cattle herds.
James Kiernan, Chairman of Community Before Pylons said the line was not needed, wanted, or desired.
EirGrid transmission projects manager Brian Mullins told the hearing that the line would help the country reach the 40% renewable energy target by 2020.
Adding that the new line was, “Vital to ensure a continued reliable source of electricity for all those living and working in the area”.
Eirgrid contend that the strong electricity network the line would support would help the region develop existing industry and attract new investment.
The company said the need for the new line had not been exaggerated and network planning manager Louis Fisher told the hearing that the current infrastructure did not have enough capacity foe the 185MW of renewable generation planned for the area.
The hearing was told that the line would supplement two existing lines and would require up to 200 double-wooden poles as well as around 20 steel pylons.
When asked why the line could not be put underground, Eirgrid’s Aidan Geoghegan said it would cost in the region of €14.3 million more than the projected €20 million cost of the current proposal.
He added that the average time to repair a fault on an underground line was 20 days longer than an over ground equivalent.