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EC approves EUR530 million funding for Ireland–France link [free access]

October 2, 2019

The European Commission (EC) has given its green light for EUR530 million funding for the 700 MW Celtic Interconnector project between Ireland and France. The project, being developed by the Irish transmission system operator (TSO) EirGrid and its French counterpart Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE), aims to increase electricity trade within Europe by directly linking the single electricity market in Ireland with the electricity market of mainland Europe.


The funding approval follows the funding application submitted by the two TSOs in May 2019, under the EC’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Energy Programme 2019. As reported, the two developers will finance the project based on the benefits derived by each country, thereby allocating 65 per cent of the projected investment in the link to Ireland and 35 per cent to France. Earlier, in June 2017, the project had received funding of EUR4 million from the EC’s CEF, for undertaking a study that covered the project’s detailed design, a public consultation, and preparation for its construction.


The project entails the construction of a proposed high voltage direct current (HVDC) undersea cable (USC), and aims to connect the north coast of Brittany (France) to the south coast of Ireland. The potential route will be approximately 575 km long, of which the offshore element will comprise approximately 500 km. The EUR1 billion Project of Common Interest (PCI) is slated for completion by 2026.


On another note, EC has approved EUR20 million funding for undertaking studies to support energy storage and electricity projects, including compressed air energy storage in Zuidwending (Netherlands) and an interconnection between Antwerp (Belgium) and Kemsley (UK). Moreover, it has approved funding for studies relating to the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP), which aims to connect Baltic countries to European electricity markets. These studies will be carried in Estonia, Lithuania, and for the Baltic electricity synchronisation project.