The European Union (EU) has allocated EUR4 million from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to the Celtic Interconnector project between Ireland and France, proposed by Ireland’s and French transmission system operators (TSOs) EirGrid and Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE), respectively.
The 700 MW Celtic interconnector project, based on high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, will connect the south coast of Ireland with the northwest coast of France. The potential route will be approximately 600 km long, of which the offshore element will comprise approximately 500 km.
The EUR1 billion project aims to increase electricity trade within Europe by directly linking the electricity market of mainland Europe with the single electricity market in Ireland. It is also expected to increase market competition, support the development of renewable energy, increase the diversification of fuel sources, and make Ireland less reliant on its electricity interconnection with Great Britain.
The feasibility phase of the project began in 2011 and was concluded in July 2016. The initial design and pre-consultation phase is due to run from mid-2016 to mid-2018, followed by the detailed design and consents phase, which will culminate in 2020-21. After the successful completion of these phases, a final decision will be made regarding whether to proceed with the project or not.
The interconnector is expected to go online in 2025, depending upon the final decision by EirGrid and RTE.