Planning Permission Granted for Project to Enable Exchange of Irish and French Electricity

Planning Permission Granted for Project to Enable Exchange of Irish and French Electricity

EirGrid, operator of Ireland’s electricity grid, has welcomed a decision by An Bord Pleanála, Ireland’s national planning body, to grant approval for the Celtic Interconnector Project, subject to a number of conditions.

The Celtic Interconnector is a subsea link that will allow the exchange of electricity between Ireland and France. It will help to develop an integrated energy system for the European energy market. Such a system will mean electricity can move around more efficiently to the places that need it. There are already similar interconnectors between many countries across Europe.

A fully integrated energy market will help the EU to:

  • achieve a range of energy policy and climate objectives
  • promote renewable energy like solar power to help move to a low-carbon energy future,
  • improve the export of electricity to markets and consumers inside and outside Europe.

EirGrid has been working with its French counterpart, Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE), to progress plans for the Interconnector. In 2019, a funding agreement under the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Energy Programme saw the project receive €530 million in funding.

Last July, EirGrid submitted a planning application to An Bord Pleanála for the Irish on-shore element of the Celtic Interconnector.

The planning application included a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report and Natura Impact Statement.

An Bord Pleanála assessed the proposal, including the landfall in Youghal, Co. Cork, cable route, converter station and network connection and associated technologies. The board also ran a seven-week period of statutory consultation.

EirGrid chief infrastructure officer, Michael Mahon, said, “This brings us one step closer to the many benefits this project will bring, including improving the security of electricity supply, helping to achieve our climate objectives and reducing the cost of electricity.

He said, “Our focus now moves to progressing the project to the construction phase, subject to the planning conditions. During this phase we will carry out ongoing detailed assessments and continue to engage with and listen to communities and stakeholders.”

A Foreshore Licence has been submitted for the offshore elements of the project in Ireland, and a marine licence is also required from the UK Marine Management Organisation.

Subject to securing these consents, it is expected the project will be built and energised by 2026.

Image by Pixabay/

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