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    EirGrid going underground to upgrade Dublin’s electricity supply

    March 30, 2023 - Irish Times


      Electricity grid operator EirGrid has just launched a public consultation programme for the Powering Up Dublin project which will see 50km of underground cables installed across the city. The eight-week consultation, which runs until May 23rd, will give individuals, communities and businesses across Dublin the opportunity to share their views on the different route options identified for the five cables to help minimise disruption caused during works.

      The Powering Up Dublin programme will involve the replacement of underground cables between a substation at Poolbeg and substations in Carrickmines and North Wall. A further two cables linking Poolbeg with a substation in Inchicore will be replaced, as well as a cable connecting North Wall and Finglas. It will also involve the construction of a new substation in Poolbeg, alongside the upgrading of substations elsewhere.

      "This is a critical infrastructure project for Dublin and Ireland. It will enhance the reliability of energy supply across Dublin and help to future-proof its power infrastructure as further renewable generation options come on stream," says EirGrid network projects manager Yvonne Coughlan.

      "The project is needed for a combination of reasons," she adds. "The cables are old and nearing the end of their life. There is also increased demand for power due to growing population, the expanding economy, and the electrification of heat and transport. The new cables will be more efficient and give us enhanced capacity and increase our ability to support the energy transition.

      "Amid the ongoing discussion around the importance of our energy security, Powering Up Dublin will help to ensure that communities and businesses will be able to rely on a reliable supply of electricity whenever they need it, to allow them to thrive into the future," Coughlan continues.

      "In addition, as we work towards a low-carbon future that will see up to 80 per cent of electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030 it is crucial that Dublin's energy infrastructure has the capacity to bring the huge amounts of additional electricity from new wind farms planned for the east coast to homes and businesses."

      Heavily congested Replacing existing cabling is not nearly as straightforward as it might first appear. "There are an awful lot of underground services in Dublin," Coughlan explains. "It's quite heavily congested. That makes a project like Powering Up Dublin very challenging."

      EirGrid has been working with other utilities and public-service providers through the Dublin Infrastructure Forum, as well as business and community forums, to share information in relation to underground infrastructure and to encourage a wide range of feedback for Powering Up Dublin.

      "Following some excellent and informative initial meetings with community groups and businesses last year, we're looking forward to hearing the public's valuable input into what will be a truly transformational programme for Dublin's power grid and for all who rely on it," says Coughlan.

      "We are looking for feedback from the public and other groups on the best way to carry out the project. At present, we have identified 12 potential routes for the five underground cables and, with the assistance of the public, we want to figure out which ones to choose.

      "We also want to optimise the routes which are selected. We want to look at issues such as how the projects might affect schools and other public facilities as well as businesses. Feedback from the public will help us to understand the different issues and select the best routes. We will be hosting a series of public information events and drop-in clinics at locations across Dublin over the next eight weeks."

      It is hoped that insights from the public and other stakeholders will assist the progress of the project. "We are asking people to reach out and give us their inputs," says Coughlan. "There might be things we hadn't thought of to minimise the impact of the project during construction. We are already looking at different ways of doing things including avoiding term times when we carry out construction work in the vicinity of schools.

      "As well as that, if we see opportunities to do small sections of routes whole other utilities are doing work we will put in ducts at the same time. We are also bringing in experts who have experience of carrying out similar projects in congested spaces."

      The next steps will see EirGrid analysing the feedback received during the consultation and using that to aid route selection. "We will also carry out site investigations to verify the data we're relying on. ESB will carry out the work on the project and we hope construction will start next year or in 2025 and be complete by 2028." For more details, see Consult.


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