The planned converter station in the Cork town of Ballyadam will be a key component of the €1bn Celtic Interconnector project.
EirGrid announced today (23 November) that the east Cork town of Ballyadam has been chosen as the site for a converter station for the Celtic Interconnector project. The €1bn infrastructure initiative will link the Irish electricity grid with Europe via France through an underwater network.
Once completed in 2026, Celtic Interconnector’s 700MW capacity is expected to move enough electricity to power 450,000 households. In addition to the site at Ballyadam, two sites near Knockraha were consulted on as potential locations for the converter station, an industrial-type building with electrical equipment that converts direct-current electricity to alternating current and vice versa.
The chosen site is 10km by road from the Knockraha electricity substation, a significant node on the national electricity transmission network and the final connection point for the interconnector.
A ‘European energy union’
EirGrid CEO Mark Foley said more than 1,000 responses were received during a recent public consultation for the converter station.
“There was support for further studies and assessment at Ballyadam, with many respondents supporting it as the most appropriate location for the converter station, given the industrial and commercial activity in the area,” he said. “[Ballyadam] will be brought forward as the best-performing converter station site to the next stage of the project, the planning process.”
The power cables connecting Ireland with mainland Europe will reach these shores at Claycastle Beach in Youghal, Co Cork. From there they will travel underground to the converter station at Ballyadam and then on to the substation at Knockraha, also by way of underground cables.
Last year, the EU confirmed it would fund more than half of the estimated cost of the project, which is seen as an important means of securing Ireland’s electricity supply following Brexit.
EirGrid is also currently leading a European project called EU-SysFlex that aims to create a ‘European energy union’. The project is investigating challenges and solutions for creating an integrated renewable energy infrastructure between EU member nations.