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Celtic Interconnector Project, Ireland–France [free access]

July 2, 2019

Developers: Ireland’s state-owned electric power transmission operator EirGrid and France's transmission system operator (TSO) Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE)

 

Project details and status: The 700 MW project aims to increase electricity trade within Europe by connecting connect the north coast of Brittany (in France) to the south coast of Ireland. It will create a direct high voltage direct current (HVDC) link between the French and Irish markets and increase renewable energy integration, especially wind in Ireland.  The potential route will be approximately 575 km long, of which the offshore element will comprise approximately 500 km.

 

Both the developers have carried out a series of joint studies into the feasibility of the interconnector 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 European Union (EU).

 

In June 2017, the EU, under its Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), allocated EUR4 million for the project.

 

In May 2019, both the Irish and French regulators—Ireland's Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and Commission de Regulation de l'Energie respectively, approved construction of the project; and jointly recommended for the project to receive at least 60 per cent of the total cost of EUR930 million from EU grant support. This falls in lines with the EU rules that allow for up to 75 per cent of a project's cost to be covered by grants from the bloc, especially if the project provides a high degree of regional or union-wide security of supply, or strengthens the solidarity of the EU. Later, in June 2019, the two developers signed an application for European Commission (EC) funding for the project, under the EC’s CEF Energy Programme 2019.

 

As per an update of June 2019, the Irish TSO was holding an eight-week public consultation on the project. It is seeking feedback on three possible landfall locations on the coast of East Cork (Ireland) for the cable; and on a shortlist of six proposed locations for a converter station in East Cork.

 

The EUR930 million, Project of Common Interest (PCI) project is expected to go online in 2026.

 

(EUR1=USD1.13)