EirGrid Briefs Cork Chamber on Celtic Interconnector

05 February 2018

EirGrid, the state-owned operator and developer of the electricity transmission grid in Ireland, has today told a meeting of Cork Chamber of Commerce that East Cork is the most suitable location for a new interconnector linking Ireland and France.

For the past number of years, EirGrid has been working with its counterpart in France, Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE), to investigate the feasibility of building an electricity interconnector between the two countries.

The proposed development, called the Celtic Interconnector, will move electricity between Ireland and France.

It will comprise a 500 kilometre submarine electricity cable placed on or beneath the seabed between France and Ireland. There will be a further 75 kilometres of cable on land in France and Ireland.

It is a significant undertaking and the estimated cost of the project is between €800 million and €1 billion.

John Fitzgerald, director of grid development and interconnection, said there will be a full consultation process. "We are very keen to work with local communities on this," he added.

In order to further assess the subsea cable route and landfall options, additional studies are needed along the coast of East Cork. The surveys are planned to commence in May 2018. There will also be a comprehensive programme of local stakeholder consultation.

If the project goes ahead, the interconnector would go live in 2025 or 2026.

There is strong support from Europe. The European Commission views interconnection as key to a more integrated European electricity system and has invested €3.9 million in the project to date. A further €4 million has also been approved for ongoing and future studies.

The Celtic Interconnector has taken on an added importance since the UK’s Brexit announcement. It will reinforce security of supply for Irish electricity users as it will be the only energy connection to a member state once the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

EirGrid already has an interconnector to Wales and there is a further interconnector linking Northern Ireland with Scotland.

The Celtic Interconnector will also bring many further benefits, including:

  • The ability to import and export 700 megawatts (MW) of electricity, the equivalent of supplying power to around 450,000 homes
  • Apply downward pressure on the cost of electricity to consumers in Ireland
  • Help facilitate Ireland’s transition to a low carbon energy future
  • Provide a direct fibre optic communications link between Ireland and France

Ends 

Contact David Martin on 085 6030969 for further information.