Celtic Interconnector steps closer to realisation

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 24/05/2022 EirGrid

An Bord Pleanála has decided to grant approval for the
Celtic interconnector project, subject to a number of conditions. The subsea link will allow the exchange of electricity between Ireland and France.

The 320 kV
Celtic Interconnector will be the first direct link between Ireland’s electricity network and mainland Europe. The 600 km link will be partly developed by French and Irish TSOs, RTE and EirGrid. The €1 billion project received €530.7 million of support from the European Commission in 2019.

Last July, EirGrid submitted the planning application to An Bord Pleanála for the Irish on-shore element of the
Celtic Interconnector. This followed a series of technical assessments, consultations and engagement with the local community that took place over the preceding years.

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, 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.

“A lot of people have been involved in this project and we recognise especially the input of communities in East Cork who have provided important feedback and engaged constructively with the project team.

“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.