France-Ireland interconnector project enters next stage

Signing of the MoU (Photo: EirGrid)

Ireland’s state-owned company that manages and operates the transmission grid in the country EirGrid and its French counterpart Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE) have launched the next stage of the Celtic Interconnector project in the presence of French and Irish top officials.

EirGrid and RTE today agreed to progress the proposed €1 billion Celtic Interconnector project to the Initial Design and Pre-Consultation stage.

This stage, which will take two years to complete, will comprise initial design and pre-consultation for an electricity interconnector linking Ireland and France. The scope of work includes an in-depth economic assessment of the project, technical studies and initial technical design specifications, environmental studies, and pre-consultation in preparation for permit granting procedures in France and Ireland.

It will also include the investigation of landing points for a subsea cable and connection points to the electricity transmission grids in France and Ireland.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding in the presence of French President François Hollande, Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny, and Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten.

Commenting on the agreement, Naughten said: “The Celtic Interconnector Project has the potential to provide a reliable high-capacity link between Ireland and France that would have huge benefits for the people of Ireland. This project would provide access to the European electricity market, leading to increased competition and lower prices in Ireland. It would also improve security of electricity supply and facilitate increased capacity for renewable energy.”

Upon completion of the Initial Design and Pre-Consultation phase, EirGrid and RTE will then decide whether to progress to the next phase of development, EirGrid informed.

However, no decision has yet been made on whether or not to build the Celtic Interconnector. This decision will be taken in 2020/2021, and would be made by EirGrid, RTE, and their respective shareholders, as well as energy regulators in Ireland and France.

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