The EC will extend 530 million in grant financing for the Celtic Interconnector. This will enable the construction of a 700 MW high voltage direct current connection of approximately 575 km in length between the South coast of Ireland and the North-West coast of Brittany in France that will carry electricity for about 450.000 homes.
The funds will come from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which funds trans-European infrastructure. In a statement announcing the funding, the EC stated that the high-capacity power line would improve the security of electricity supply in both Ireland and France. Once built, the Celtic Interconnector will be Ireland’s only power link with mainland Europe if Britain exits the EU and will give the country access to the European internal energy market. This is also one of the reasons why the EC is backing the project, as it will help to further integrate the EU’s electricity network and internal market.
This 1-billion project is being developed by Irish state-owned electric power transmission operator EirGrid Plc and France’s transmission system operator RTE. The interconnector will be the largest built in Ireland so far, with no less than 700 MW compared to the 500 MW connection between Ireland and Wales. Moreover, the Celtic Interconnector will be roughly 600 km long and will be able to transmit electricity in both directions.
The construction of the proposed link could start as early as 2022 and be completed by 2026 as announced by the Irish government. According to it, the project is expected to help Ireland achieve its goal set in summer 2019 as part of the government’s latest Climate Action Plan for a 70% RES share in the total power mix by 2030.