Engineers Ireland has welcomed the publication of EirGrid’s new draft strategy for the development of Ireland’s transmission grid. “Ireland's electricity grid is a key piece of national infrastructure serving the needs of communities, industry and agriculture throughout the country,” said John Power, chartered engineer, director general of Engineers Ireland. “We welcome the proposed investment of €2.7 billion to €3.9 billion out to 2025, which will create jobs and provide the essential infrastructure for development in the regions.  We particularly welcome the use of innovative technology in the draft strategy, and the commitment to an open consultative engagement with stakeholders and communities prior to finalising the strategy later this year,” he added. The draft strategy, Your Grid, Your Views, Your Tomorrow, is shaped by three key pillars; open engagement with communities, making the most of new technologies and a commitment to make the existing grid work harder before building new transmission infrastructure. Within the strategy, EirGrid confirms there is a clear requirement for the North-South Interconnector, and that the existing preference for an overhead line is still the most appropriate solution for the project. Alternatives have been offered elsewhere with improvements to the Grid Link Project possible without the need for new infrastructure. Upgrading some of the existing transmission lines on the Grid Link Project would make it possible to introduce a technology known as “series compensation‟ onto the grid for the first time. This new equipment would allow EirGrid to put more power on existing lines and address the problems on the system. “As a state company, our job is to work on behalf of all citizens to ensure a secure, affordable and sustainable electricity supply. This draft strategy is the latest review of our approach to ensure the needs and drivers for investment remain and we deliver the best solutions for the people of Ireland,” said, EirGrid chief executive, Fintan Slye. “We committed last year, to be open with people and find out what it is they want from this most critical of infrastructure. We are now asking people to give us their views on our draft strategy,” Slye added. Slye concluded by reiterating the need for EirGrid to ensure the necessary grid is in place to guarantee that Ireland remains competitive; fostering economic growth, attracting new investments and supporting indigenous jobs. Once EirGrid has received people’s feedback it will submit the draft to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources for its consideration before publishing the final strategy later in 2015.