RTE and Eigrid sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Ireland-France "Celtic Interconnector" project during President François Hollande’s visit to Ireland

07-21-2016

During his visit to Ireland, President François Hollande and the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny took the billon-Euro France-Ireland "Celtic Interconnector" project another step forward. François Brottes, Chairman of the RTE Executive Board and Fintan Slye, EirGrid Chief Executive, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the initiation of a new design phase by 2025.

Fintan Slye, président d'EirGrid et François Brottes, président du directoire de RTE signant le  Memorundum of Understanding en présence du Premier Ministre irlandais, Enda Kenny et du président François Hollande

With a capacity of approximately 700 MW, the "Celtic Interconnector" will be able to provide nearly 450 000 households with electrical power. The project is currently being assessed by EirGrid and RTE. It would boost Ireland’s and France’s security of supply by establishing a high-voltage link between both countries. It would also boost Ireland’s competitive strength on the single electricity market while helping to develop renewables, particularly in Ireland.

The project is also a key step in the final stages of the "sustainable energy" roadmap between Ireland and France, which RTE and Eirgrid are hoping to actively promote among all stakeholders.

Following completion of the feasibility studies which began five years ago, EirGrid and RTE have now decided to embark on a new design phase (Initial Design and Pre-Consultation) through the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two transmission system operators (photo opposite).

Over the next two years, this new phase will involve an in-depth assessment of the project’s economic benefits, additional design studies, environmental studies and a pre- consultation on the procedures for obtaining the requisite licences in France and Ireland.

It will also entail an assessment of conditions for laying the sub-sea cable and connecting it to the French and Irish transmission systems.

EirGrid Chief Executive Fintan Slye stated that the project would boost the efficiency of the Irish transmission system. "It will improve security of supply for the whole of Ireland and boost competition, thereby lowering prices for customers". François Brottes, Chairman of the RTE Executive Board, said that "the project highlighted the importance of cooperation between transmission system operators in ensuring the success of the energy transition and the development of the European energy market”. 

The independent reports commissioned as part of EirGrid’s feasibility studies also show that the project would obviate the need to build a new gas-fired power plant in Ireland, costing around 300 million Euros. At the end of the Initial Design and Pre-Consultation phase, EirGrid and RTE will make a final decision as to whether or not they will start building the interconnector. If the project gets the go-ahead, the interconnector is expected to be commissioned in 2025.

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