AS an underwater power cable to connect the electricity supplies of Ireland and France moves a step closer to construction, Irish power operator, Eirgrid, said that the link “will be beneficial for both countries and Europe as a whole”.
The energy regulators of both countries have jointly decided to support a bid for the Celtic Interconnector project to receive significant EU grant support.
The project (the cable is to run from the east Cork coast to Brittany in France) is being spearheaded by Eirgrid in Ireland and power-grid operator, RTÉ, in France.
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) in Ireland and the French regulator said that in the context of Britain’s intended exit from the EU, the Celtic Interconnector project would establish a direct power link between Ireland and the European internal energy market.
“EirGrid welcomes the decision by the national regulatory authorities of Ireland and France, regarding the Celtic Interconnector,” the company said.
“We particularly welcome their acknowledgement that linking the electricity markets of Ireland and France will be beneficial for both countries, and Europe as a whole.”
The cable would allow for the import and export of about 700 megawatts of electricity, enough to power around 450,000 homes.
The regulators said that they had agreed that 65% of the project’s costs would be allocated to Ireland and 35% to France.
The project is due to be completed in 2026 and will cost €930m.
It has been declared a Common Interest Project by the European Commission since 2013 and is therefore eligible for EU financial support. The regulators support an application for a European grant, covering at least 60% of the project’s investment costs.
In April, Eirgrid launched an eight-week consultation, with stakeholders and communities encouraged to submit their feedback by Monday, June 10.
Eirgrid are looking for feedback on a shortlist of three proposed landfall locations on the coast of east Cork and six proposed location zones for a converter station in east Cork.
The proposed, shortlisted landfall locations of Ballinwilling Strand, Redbarn Beach, and Claycastle Beach were selected from a list of five options.
The proposed, shortlisted location zones for the converter station are situated in Ballyadam, Leamlara, Knockraha, Pigeon Hill, Kilquane, and Ballyvatta in east Cork. They were selected from a list of 14.
“When this phase of consultation has concluded and the stakeholder feedback has been analysed, we will confirm the two shortlists,” Eirgrid said.
“They will then be subjected to further assessments and further consultation, in order to determine the best-performing locations for the infrastructure.”