Belfast Telegraph

Eight years on and North-South Interconnector project approval still not given

By Staff Reporter

The £200m North-South Interconnector project was first put forward for planning approval on 2009 - but, eight years later, it has still not received the final go-ahead.

The current plan is for an 85 mile-long overhead electricity link to run from Charlemont, through Co Armagh, crossing the border near Keady into Monaghan and Cavan, ending north of Kells in Meath.

Plans to link the two power grids mean the construction of huge pylons to carry high-voltage cables.

Local campaigners have campaigned for the power lines to be placed underground - a much more expensive option.

The Northern Ireland section of the interconnector is the responsibility of SONI Ltd, a subsidiary of Dublin-based Eirgrid PLC, which in turn is owned by the Irish government.

SONI also recognises that there will be an energy shortage in Northern Ireland by 2021, unless the North-South interconnector is built.

The firm says the looming Northern Ireland energy crisis will result not from increased demand, but from the closure of old power stations which do not meet emissions standards.

Business organisations north and south have called for the interconnector to be built as soon as possible.

Speaking at a public inquiry into the project earlier this year, Kirsty McManus, of the NI Chamber of Commerce, said delivering the interconnector was a "top priority" for its membership.

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