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Newstalk

13.56 15 Jan 2016


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A government minister has not ruled out moving people away from areas where wind farms may be built.

Energy Minister Alex White says: "That has happened in other countries - I've seen that happening in other countries".

He also told the Pat Kenny Show here on Newstalk that, ultimately, Ireland will have to stop burning peat and coal - and replace them with renewable forms of energy.

"We'll still be talking about this in 20 years time", he said.

Last October it was confirmed that a proposed overhead power line from Cork to Kildare would not go ahead.

It came after an independent expert panel said it believed EirGrid was 'highly unlikely' to progress plans for major new overhead or underground power lines in the years ahead.

The Grid Link programme has been the subject of intense public scrutiny over environmental and health fears.

However, the expert group said it believed EirGrid was showing a 'clear preference' for a so-called 'regional' plan.

This would see existing infrastructure developed to boost transmission.

In terms of objections to wind power, Minister White said: "I think we're facing a legacy of a pretty bad PR for the onshore wind policy - perhaps by the State and certainly by business".

He added that "business have improved on that".

Mr White says he believes this is a long-term plan, using several renewable sources.


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