EirGrid welcomes the recent announcement of the EU’s €4 million investment in the Celtic Interconnector project.
This project involves the development of a potential electrical connection between Ireland and France, utilising subsea cables, with the capacity of approximately 700 megawatts (MW), enough to power 450,000 households.
The project is being jointly developed by EirGrid and its French counterpart Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE), with both parties sharing the costs of the current phase of the project equally.
The investment was secured under the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility. The application was made possible by the status of the Celtic Interconnector as a Project of Common Interest (PCI). Projects with PCI status are recognised as essential for completing the European internal energy market and for reaching the EU's energy policy objectives of affordable, secure and sustainable energy.
This investment will support the latest phase of the project, that of Initial Design and Pre-Consultation. This phase will continue into 2018 and comprise of an in-depth economic assessment of the project; a suite of technical and environmental studies; and pre-consultation activities in preparation for possible future permit granting procedures in France and Ireland.
If constructed, this connection would put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices by directly linking the electricity market of mainland Europe with the Single Energy Market in Ireland; would improve security of electricity supply in Ireland and France by providing a reliable high-capacity link between the two countries; and support further development of renewable resources contributing to Ireland’s and the EU’s sustainable energy transition.
Fintan Slye, EirGrid Chief Executive, “This is a substantial step forward for the project, and a clear endorsement from the European Commission in the Celtic Interconnector, and it’s potential to integrate the European energy market and secure supply in Ireland into the long term.”
“Upon completion of the “Initial Design and Pre-Consultation” phase next year, EirGrid and RTE, in consultation with the energy regulators in Ireland and France, will decide whether to progress to the next phase of development. A final decision as to whether or not to proceed with construction of the project would then be taken in 2020/2021. Should it progress, the interconnector would go live in 2025/2026.”
Further information on the Celtic Interconnector is available here.