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Wales-Ireland electricity connector given green light

Ballinesker beach, co wexford

An electricity interconnector between Wales and Ireland has been given the go-ahead by Ireland’s electricity regulator. 

The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has announced that the proposed Greenlink Interconnector is in the public interest and should be supported by a new regulatory regime. 

The Greenlink Interconnector is a new 500MW underground and submarine interconnector between Wales and Ireland.   

Two electricity cables and one fibre optic cable will link the National Grid’s Pembroke substation with the Great Island substation in County Wexford, 205km away. 

The CRU examined the project’s cost benefit analysis to determine if the project should be part of the Irish transmission system. Working with Ofgem, the CRU conducted its own cost benefit analysis of Greenlink with the help of independent advisors.  

Greenlink project director Simon Ludlam said this was a major step to get the project onto the home straight.  

He said: “This decision sets Greenlink on the home straight to become Ireland’s next interconnector. The Irish Government has already published positive national policy on interconnection, recognising that projects like Greenlink will improve energy security, support decarbonisation and put downward pressure on consumer prices.”  

The next step for the project is a consultation on ‘‘cap and floor’’ regulation - which limits market exposure for consumers by setting a ceiling on the revenues that Greenlink can receive while reducing the cost of the project by facilitating low cost equity and debt capital. 

Specialist survey firm MMT began the marine survey works for the project in September.  

The £352M project is being privately financed by Greenlink Interconnector Limited, a subsidiary of Element Power, with additional support from the European Union.  

The engineering consultant for Greenlink is WSP, with main construction set to begin in 2020.   

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