On the same day that
the USA threatens to impose $7.5 billion of tariffs on EU goods to the
USA (2 October 2019), the funding of almost €1 million per kilometre
has been announced by the European Commission in order to provide a subsea
electricity interconnector, Celtic Interconnector, between the Republic
of Ireland and France.
The decision follows the submission in June of an application for funding
by project developers Ireland's EirGrid and France's Réseau de Transport
d’Electricité (RTE). The two companies submitted the application under
the Commission’s 2019 Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Energy Programme.
The total amount of the award for this single project was equivalent to
almost 70% of the €750 million available to finance projects of common
interest (PCI's) announced earlier this year under the multi-annual work
programme set up to grant financial aid in the field of energy infrastructure
under the Connecting Europe Facility, whereby the support mechanism is
made available to energy infrastructure projects that fail to receive adequate
financing from the market.
project not commercially viable ..
One of the eligibility
criteria for proposals for works is that “the project is commercially
not viable according to the business plan and other assessments carried
out, notably by possible investors or creditors or the national regulatory
authority (see The decision on incentives and its justification referred
to in Article 13(2) of the TEN-E Regulation shall be taken into account
when assessing the project’s commercial viability.” ).
As expected EirGrid has welcomed yesterday’s decision by the European
Commission totalling €530 million to the high-voltage electricity cable
linking Ireland and France.
EirGrid and RTE estimate the total cost to exceed €1 billion to build
the interconnector, which will provide Ireland’s first direct electricity
link to Continental Europe. It will be able to import and export up to
700 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 450,000 homes, and will go
live in 2026.
Mark Foley, EirGrid Chief Executive, said: “The Celtic Interconnector
is a key part of our strategic goal to transform Ireland’s power system.
In the coming years we will break new ground in the amount of renewable
electricity we manage on the electricity system.
“Interconnection with France supports this as it makes the power system
more resilient and efficient. This added strength will become increasingly
important as renewables become the primary energy source on the national
Ireland prohibits Nuclear power
only has connections both on land and Sea to the UK. Ironically receiving
electricity from France where 72% of the electricity
supply is from nuclear power (72.3% of total production in 2016),
prohibits the production of electricity by nuclear fission,
under the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999 (Section 18). However
the enforcement of this law is only applicable to electricity generated
within Irish borders.
Mr Foley added that the Celtic Interconnector would also apply downward
pressure on the cost of electricity to consumers in Ireland and provide
a direct fibre optic communications link between Ireland and France.
François Brottes, Chairman of the executive board of RTE, said: “The support
of the European commission for this electricity interconnector between
France and Ireland is a major step forward in the development of an always
sustainable, cost efficient, resilient and integrated European grid which
will enable the transition to a low carbon energy future.”
Since 2011, EirGrid and RTE have carried out series of joint studies into
the feasibility of the interconnector. Should the proposed interconnector
successfully pass through the planning process, the studies indicate that
it would benefit electricity customers in Ireland, France and the EU.
The interconnector will travel 575 kilometres from East Cork to the north-west
coast of Brittany.
The European Commission has already designated the Celtic Interconnector
a Project of Common Interest (PCI). PCIs are key cross-border projects
that link the energy systems of EU countries.