Subsea electricity cable linking Ireland and France powers ahead

21 Jul 2016

The Celtic Interconnector is the name of a project aiming to hook Ireland up with the European electricity grid using an undersea cable to France.

Capitalising on the visit of French President François Hollande today (21 July), the Irish government has revealed plans for the €1bn Celtic Interconnector.

With a planned capacity of 700 megawatts, apparently enough to power 450,000 households, EirGrid and its French counterpart Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE) have been involved in the project for five years now.

Celtic Interconnector

Having completed a feasibility study, the two companies are now signed up to a memorandum of understanding to move onto a new two-year project to complete design and pre-consultation ahead of the tangible construction.

Should the entire project be completed, it will prove a reliable high-capacity link between the two countries which, according to Eirgrid, will “increase competition in the all-island single electricity market and support the development of renewable energy, particularly in Ireland”.

“It will improve security of supply on the island of Ireland and increase competition, driving down prices for customers,” said Fintan Slye, EirGrid’s chief executive.

Signing the agreement are (l-r) An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, EirGrid chief executive Fintan Slye, RTE chairman François Brottes, President François Hollande.

Signing the Celtic Interconnector agreement are (l-r) An Taoiseach Enda Kenny; EirGrid chief executive Fintan Slye; RTE chairman François Brottes; President François Hollande

The current stage of planning will include the investigation of landing points for a subsea cable and connection points to the electricity transmission grids in France and Ireland.

Upon completion of this stage, the two companies will then decide if they want to proceed with the project. Should all parties continue in the arrangement, the interconnecter is planned to go live in 2025.

“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,” said Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Denis Naughten, TD .

“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.”

Electricity image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic