CRU publishes Greenlink consultation results

In: Cables
The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU), has published a consultation on the Greenlink interconnector project. The publication reveals that CRU is minded to grant a new ‘cap and floor’ regulatory regime for Greenlink Interconnector Limited for its subsea cable interconnector project.

The CRU’s eight-week consultation was launched on 26th March and the CRU plans to publish its draft determination in the third quarter of 2020. This will set out the precise details of the cap and floor regime, a system of support that limits market exposure for consumers whilst facilitating the efficient financing of the project.

Nigel Beresford, CEO of Greenlink, welcomed the publication. He stated: “We welcome the CRU’s announcement on a new regulatory regime to support the Greenlink interconnector in Ireland. It creates a positive environment for continued private capital financing of this critical energy infrastructure project and its delivery.

The proposed regime will support the Irish government in meeting its energy policy objectives - on energy security, decarbonisation and investment in renewable energy like offshore wind - whilst also protecting the consumer by driving down costs.

We look forward to engaging further with the CRU in relation to the detailed implementation of the cap and floor in Ireland.”

The CRU consultation follows its determination in October 2018 that the construction and operation of the interconnector was in the public interest. The implementation of a cap and floor regulatory regime in Ireland would mirror the regulatory arrangements for interconnectors in the UK through Ofgem. The consultation period will last for eight weeks, closing on 21 May 2020.

The subsea cable project aims to connect the national grids of Ireland and the UK which is expected to improve the security of electricity supply in both countries and reduce the average electricity costs for consumers. It will consist of 170km of submarine cabling, with 30 km of cable on land linking County Wexford in Ireland and Pembrokeshire in Wales. Construction is currently planned for 2020, with completion expected by 2023.

Procurement for the major construction contracts is currently under way and agreements have been signed for connecting to the grid in Ireland and Wales, with EirGrid and National Grid respectively. Marine planning applications have been submitted and planning applications for the onshore works in Wales and Ireland are being prepared.

Greenlink has been recognised as a “Project of Common Interest” by the European Union following support received from both the Irish and UK governments and has also received funding from the European Commission through the Connecting Europe Facility.

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