First step in plans for power line to France
EIRGRID has begun a two-year pre-application consultation with An Bord Pleanála for its planned €1bn sub-sea electricity interconnector between Ireland and France.
It's the first formal step to securing a permit for the 575km cable, 500km of which will be sub-sea and will make landfall in east Cork.
Eirgrid, the semi-state body that manages Ireland's national electricity grid, is developing the so-called Celtic Interconnector project in conjunction with its French counterpart, Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTE).
A spokesman for EirGrid said that the initiation of a pre-application consultation with An Bord Pleanála is required because the 700MW Celtic Interconnector is deemed a Project of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Commission.
The planning watchdog is the designated authority in Ireland for the permit-granting process of PCIs.
A PCI can benefit from accelerated planning and permit granting. To be designated a PCI, a project must have a significant impact on the energy markets and market integration of at least two EU countries. It should also increase competition, energy security and integration of renewable energy sources.
The cable will be the only direct power link between Ireland and another EU member state once the UK leaves the trading bloc next year.
The Celtic Interconnector is also expected to put downward pressure on electricity prices for consumers in both Ireland and France. It will also provide a fibre-optic link between the two countries.
If the connector is built, it should go live by 2025 or 2026.
During the summer, Eirgrid undertook offshore surveys in east Cork, having earlier identified five possible landing sites for the cable. A final site will be chosen next year.