EirGrid has a challenging role to play in leading the radical transformation of the electricity system to low-carbon, renewable energy.
Transforming the grid is necessary to meet the Government target of 80% of electricity consumption coming from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by 2030.
To do this, the national electricity grid operator needs to add more energy from renewable sources to the power system over the next eight years.
This involves developing 40 new electricity grid infrastructure projects, representing a total investment of over €1 billion during this time. Some of this additional investment will be seen in Westmeath through upgrading existing electricity lines.
“We understand we cannot achieve these developments alone; we can only do this with public acceptance and input,” says Head of Public Engagement with EirGrid, Sinead Dooley.
Following on from its 2021 consultation - ‘Shaping Our Electricity Future’ which sought views and inputs from all sectors of society and industry about grid development, a commitment was made to establish citizens roadshows across the country.
After a number of successful debut roadshow events to date, a Westmeath roadshow event will take place on Wednesday, September 28 at Bloomfield House Hotel, in Mullingar.
What are these roadshows and why are they being held?
The Head of Public Engagement told the Athlone Advertiser that the events are about ‘communities’.
“Communities are at the heart of grid development and we know that when we work alongside communities and take on their feedback, better decisions are made. We want these roadshows to be beneficial for all who take part – community groups, businesses, members of the public, but also for EirGrid to get a better understanding of communities that host grid infrastructure. This helps us to gain a deeper knowledge of their priorities and perspectives.”
The event will provide information on how EirGrid plans to future-proof the electricity grid in the midlands and will invite people to engage with the guest panel, including the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI ), and ESB Networks in discussions on Ireland’s energy future, and what this will mean for the region.
On the evening there will be information stands showcasing the latest details on home energy efficiency upgrades, retrofitting grants and information about community micro-generation schemes.
Ireland’s national sustainable energy authority, SEAI will provide information and advice to attendees about a range of grants and funding supports across home, business and community.
Shaping an event that addresses people’s needs is something Dooley speaks passionately about, “At this roadshow we want to provide relevant, timely and beneficial information to people. We understand people’s growing concerns regarding energy consumption and the need for savings. We hope this event will allow the people of Westmeath to engage with exhibitors from a range of organisations and community energy groups that can share knowledge and expertise.”
Dooley added, “Everything we do at EirGrid is collaborative, from our consultations on grid development, to engaging with stakeholders on current projects. Our approach looks at grid development not only from an economic, technical or a deliverability perspective, but also, and importantly, from a social acceptance perspective. EirGrid aims to minimise impacts on communities, while still delivering on renewable ambitions, that is why dialogue, and events such as this in Mullingar are essential.”
The EirGrid Energy Citizens Roadshow will take place from 6.30pm to 8pm on September 28 next at Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar.
To register your attendance, visit eirgrid.ie/roadshows