STATE AGENCY Eirgrid is in the final stages of tendering for consultants and engineers to work on the first phase of a €240 million investment in the Republic’s key electricity network in the west of Ireland.
Eirgrid is an independent entity that manages the national grid and network that transmits electricity from power plants to the distribution system. Another State company, the ESB, owns the grid.
It is evaluating tenders from bidders interested in contracts for the initial engineering, environmental, technical and public consultation work on the project.
The contracts relate only to the initial work on the project and not on the entire development.
Eirgrid intends to seek planning permission for the redevelopment of the grid in the west in 2015. The contracts it is tendering will lay the ground work for this.
The company is considering a number of bids from consortiums comprising Irish and multi-national engineering and planning specialists.
The State agency said it was not in a position to name any of the bidders.
The Grid West project, as it is known, will involve strengthening existing infrastructure in the west. One of the main aims of the exercise is to underpin the region’s ability to attract investment that will lead to the creation of jobs.
High-tech and pharmaceutical industries are heavily dependent on electricity. The grid serving the area has to have the capacity to deliver this, according to Eirgrid.
Grid West will also facilitate renewable energy projects such as wind farms. A high proportion of these are being built in the west.
Contractors working for Eirgrid recently began laying the cable that will form a connection between the east coast and Wales.
The €600 million interconnector will enable electricity to flow to and from Ireland and Britain. It will have a capacity of 500 megawatts.