‘Historic’ Celtic Interconnector to cut energy costs for Irish consumers

25 Nov 2022

European Investment Bank’s Ambroise Fayola, Minister Eamon Ryan, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, French minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher and the European Commission’s Mechthild Wörsdörfer watch as an agreement is signed by Eirgrid CEO Mark Foley and RTE president Xavier Piechaczyk. Image: Phil Behan

The subsea cable connecting Ireland to France is now expected to be operational by 2026.

Leaders from Ireland and France have gotten the ball rolling on the construction of a “historic subsea cable”, which is expected to reduce energy costs and boost the security of supply.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD and Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD met French energy transition minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher in Paris today (25 November) to sign technical and financing agreements for the Celtic Interconnector project.

Developed by EirGrid and RTE France, this is a 700MW high-voltage, submarine power cable that will link the south coast of Ireland to the north of France.

The project is expected to be built and operational by 2026, creating Ireland’s first interconnection with mainland Europe.

“The Celtic Interconnector will help bring costs down and increase security of supply for Irish and French energy consumers,” said Martin at the signing today.

“It will facilitate the increased use of renewable energy, improve telecommunications security and better integrate European electricity markets. Today marks an important milestone in Ireland’s cooperation with its EU partners to ensure a low-carbon energy transition.”

‘Help us achieve climate objectives’

In 2019, RTE and EirGrid secured €530.7m in EU backing for the Celtic Interconnector project to link Ireland to Europe’s electricity grids.

Agreements have now been signed for its construction with Siemens Energy and French cable manufacturer Nexans, and for €800m in financing from the European Investment Bank, Danske Bank, Barclays and BNP.

While the full cost of the project is set to be €1.6bn, these agreements will allow work to begin in 2023.

It will see 575km of cable run from the Co Cork coast to the north-west of Brittany. Once complete, this cable will be able to import and export enough electricity to power 450,000 homes.

Minister Ryan described the signing today as a “starting point” for the construction of a “historic subsea cable”.

“It will connect the Irish and French electricity networks and will improve the security of our electricity supply, help us to achieve our climate objectives and reduce the cost of electricity,” he added.

“It means that we can import energy from Europe when we need it and, critically, it means that we can also export energy, particularly when we begin to realise the enormous potential of our offshore wind capacity.”

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Sarah Harford is sub-editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com