Energy regulators in France and Ireland have approved plans for a 500km, 700MW high-voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnector between the two nations.
The Celtic Interconnector is a joint project between Irish and French grid operators EirGrid and Réseau de Transport d’Électricité - and will be the first physical energy link between the two countries.
500km of subsea cable will be required, as well as 75km of cabling between the cable land fall and its substations that connect it to the French and Irish energy grids. The project will also include a high-speed fibre optic tele-communications cable.
The 700MW interconnector will transmit enough electricity to power 450,000 homes, and the increased energy trade will drive down prices for customers in both nations, according to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities in Ireland and the Commission de Régulation de l’Energie in France.
The project, which is estimated to cost around £795M, will be largely covered by EU financial assistance thanks to its designation as a “project of common interest”.
Several routes for the cable are under consideration, with proposed routes both inside and outside of UK territorial waters. The favoured route runs from Cork in Ireland to Pays De Leon on the French coast around the edge of UK waters (route 2, below).
Celtic interconnector possible routes
An EirGrid spokesperson said the project was currently seeking views on the landfall location for interconnector as part of public consultation. “EirGrid welcomes the decision by the national regulatory authorities of Ireland and France regarding the Celtic Interconnector,” the spokesperson said. “We particularly welcome their acknowledgement that linking the electricity markets of Ireland and France will be beneficial for both countries and Europe as a whole.
“We are currently conducting an eight-week consultation on the project. We are looking for feedback on a shortlist of three proposed landfall locations on the coast of East Cork and six proposed location zones for an electricity converter station also in East Cork.”
The Celtic Interconnector is expected to be operational by 2026.
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