Ireland, Britain cut ribbon on first electricity link
Sep 21, 2012 - Irish state-owned electricity grid operator EirGrid plc on Thursday held an opening event for Ireland's first power link with the UK, which is seen as a boost for renewable energy.
The EirGrid East West Interconnector is a 260-km (162 miles) underground and undersea link that runs between Woodland, County Meath in Ireland and Deeside in northern Wales, and can transport energy both ways. It has a capacity to carry 500 MW of electricity, enough to power 300,000 homes.
The project will improve energy supply security, increase competition and stimulate the expansion of renewable energy generation, according to statements from EirGrid and the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. EirGrid chief executive Dermot Byrne said the interconnector would help Ireland tap and export its rich renewable resources. On the same note, UK energy secretary Edward Davey, who attended the event in Batterstown Co Meath, said the link would enable more Irish wind energy to reach the large UK customer base.
The interconnector will become operational on October 1. Byrne said the EUR-600-million (USD 780m) project was completed on schedule and some EUR 30 million under budget. It was backed by a EUR-110-million grant from the European Union (EU). Swedish engineering group ABB (VTX:ABBN, STO:ABB) was contracted to design, manufacture and install the link.
"Ireland's East West Interconnector will double electricity interconnection between the UK and Ireland and will provide a greater opportunity to trade electricity between the two markets. It is a key part of building a single European energy market," said Guenther Oettinger, the EU Energy Commissioner, who opened the interconnector.