A project to build an interconnector linking for the first time the French and Irish electricity systems will today be awarded a €4 million grant from the European Commission. The Celtic Interconnector will make it possible for energy to be traded more freely between EU countries, enhancing Ireland's security of energy supply and allowing the integration of more renewables into the European energy system. The project promoters (RTE France and EirGrid) the EU's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) will sign the grant agreement at a ceremony in Brussels today, witnessed by representatives of the French and Irish governments and the European Commission.
When built, the Celtic Interconnector will consist of around 600km of cables on the seabed between France and Ireland. These will be able to transmit up to 700 MW of electricity, the equivalent of supplying power to around 450,000 homes, and also provide a direct fibre optic communications link between Ireland and France. The interconnector will also enable surplus renewable energy – generated, for example, in very sunny or windy weather – to be transmitted to other locations where there is high electricity demand.
A Feasibility Study and Initial Design and Pre-Consultation for the project hav already been successfully carried out with the support of the EU's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The new funding, which also comes from the CEF, will finance a study that will cover the project's detailed design, a public consultation, and preparation for its construction. The project is eligible for CEF funding as a Project of Common Interest (PCI), as it is considered essential to completing the EU's internal energy market and for contributing to the provision of affordable, secure and sustainable energy in Europe.