Celtic Interconnector

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As Ireland’s state-owned transmission system operator (TSO), EirGrid is statutorily obliged to explore and develop opportunities for further interconnection. We carry out studies and assessments on an ongoing basis of potential opportunities for interconnection for Ireland. In 2009, the ‘Interconnector Economic Feasibility Report’ identified an interconnector with France as one such opportunity.

The Celtic Interconnector is a proposed electrical link, which if built will enable the movement of power between Ireland and France. We have been working with our counterpart in France, Réseau de Transport d’Electricité, to investigate the feasibility of an electrical link between our two countries.

A series of joint studies into the feasibility of the interconnector have been carried out with the French TSO Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE) since 2011. These studies have indicated that if built, an interconnector between the two countries would be beneficial for electricity customers in Ireland, France and the EU.

As part of the feasibility study, potential routing between the south coast of Ireland and the north-west coast of France was considered for the Celtic Interconnector.  The length of the subsea cable would be approximately 500 km. The total length of the interconnector between the two countries would be approximately 600 km.

The industry standard for such interconnectors is High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC), as was used for the East West Interconnector (EWIC) which EirGrid developed between Ireland and Wales. Converter stations at each end would convert the electricity back to High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC).  This conversion is needed as, Ireland’s transmission system relies on HVAC technology to move electricity around the country.   

 

 

What are the benefits of this project?

If built the Celtic Interconnector will bring many benefits, including:

  • Ability to import and export 700 MW (megawatts) of electricity, the equivalent of supplying power to around 450,000 homes
  • Enhanced security of supply for Irish electricity users. It will provide Ireland’s only direct energy connection to an EU Member State once the United Kingdom leaves the EU
  • 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.

The European Commission views interconnection as key to a more integrated European electricity system, as it improves the movement of electricity around the system to the places that need it.  Interconnection also allows electricity to be exported to markets and users in other countries.   The Commission has designated the Celtic Interconnector as a Project of Common Interest (PCI), and has invested €3.9 million to date and up to €4 million has been approved for ongoing and future studies.

We look forward to engaging regularly with the public and other stakeholders as the project progresses.