Work Starts on Electricity Interconnector Linking Ireland and UK Power Grids
Greenlink Interconnector Limited (GIL) has announced financial close on construction of the 500MW 190km subsea and underground electricity interconnector that will connect the power grids of Ireland and Great Britain. The project is the first privately financed interconnector in Europe supported under the Cap and Floor regulatory regimes in the UK and Ireland and represents a total investment of over €500m.
Partners Group, a leading global private markets firm, which owns Greenlink on behalf of its clients, has secured debt financing for the project with a consortium of banks to fund construction.
The contract for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) was awarded in September last year to a consortium comprised of Siemens Energy AG (Siemens Energy) and Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (Sumitomo Electric). Onshore works have begun in Wexford in Ireland and Pembrokeshire in Wales, and the project will have a three-year construction period before commissioning at the end of 2024.
The Greenlink project comprises a 160km subsea high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable system, two converter stations, a tail station at Great Island in Wexford and onshore cable works in Wexford and Pembrokeshire. The project’s nominal capacity of 500MW is equivalent to powering around 380,000 homes. As well as providing downward pressure on wholesale energy prices, the new grid connection will provide greater security of supply for electricity consumers.
The commencement of the project comes at a time of increased focus on energy supplies worldwide due to the threat to supply security resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
James O’Reilly, CEO of Greenlink, said, “We are delighted to have reached financial close on one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects. It will deliver a range of benefits at this critical time in the energy transition, from local jobs and investment to energy security and the cost-effective integration of renewables to help Ireland and the UK meet their climate change goals.”
Greenlink has been granted Cap and Floor agreements by Ofgem in Great Britain and the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) in Ireland. The Cap and Floor regime is an arrangement introduced by the GB and Irish regulators to promote the development, financing and construction of electricity interconnectors where demonstrably beneficial to consumers.
The project has received funding from the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union.