A new report commissioned by ReThink pylons claims to offer an Alternative to EirGrid’s Grid 25 project.

A key element of the organisation’……s alternative plan is the conversion of Ireland’s largest power station, Moneypoint in Co. Clare, from coal to biomass. It says this would be a low cost alternative to Grid25 that would make it possible to meet Irish renewable energy targets for 2020 at a single stroke.

The report, by consultants Dr Anthony White and Malcolm Brown of BW Energy, also makes clear that gradual conversion to biomass at Moneypoint, would enable Ireland to meet its renewable energy commitments cost effectively, without the massive Grid25 upgrade required by Ireland’s current “all wind” policy.

The report entiltiled Review of the Irish Government’s Strategy for Compliance with the European Directive 2009/28, is released today by ReThink Pylons, a volunteer organisation working to stimulate a rethink of Irish energy policy, including Grid25.

Click below for the reports key findings

• Gradual conversion from coal to biomass at Moneypoint, Ireland’s largest power station would make it possible to meet 2020 targets at a single stroke.

• The market for biomass has been transformed in the last five years, making security of supply through long-term fixed price contracts a reality.

• Possibility of burning locally grown biomass promotes Irish job creation.

• Biomass conversion would protect the Irish landscape and jobs in the tourism, bloodstock and agriculture sectors by eliminating the need for the Grid25 upgrade and further development of onshore wind farms.

• At an estimated cost of €380 million, conversion of Moneypoint would enable Ireland to meet its renewable energy target at a tenth of the €3.8 billion cost of the government’s current plan.

• Choosing the biomass conversion option will be cheaper for domestic consumers than relying on onshore wind. In terms of “green economics”, moreover, the biomass con- version option can deliver carbon savings nearly double those associated with wind power for every euro spent.

Biomass conversion, the report concludes, offers a practical, cost effective solution to Ireland’s renew-able energy requirements. “Biomass now represents a real alternative,” said Malcolm Brown. ”

“Using the recent successful conversion of the Drax power station in Yorkshire as a model for the adaptation of Moneypoint, could provide the answer for Ireland.”

“The facts have changed in Ireland’s energy debate,” said Paddy Massey, spokesperson for ReThink Pylons. “Today’s report makes it clear that wind is not the only way and the envisaged pylon blight is not a necessity. Technology has moved on. This report is a positive contribution to the debate which demands proper investigation by the government.”

In light of this report, ReThink Pylons is calling again on the Irish Government to re-examine its energy policy and is asking for a fundamental rethink of Grid25, Grid Link and associated projects.