Go-ahead for electricity link between Wexford and Wales
The green light has been given for the advancement of a €500 million electricity interconnector project between Wexford and Wales.
The Commission for Regulating Utilities (CRU) has given Eirgrid the go-ahead to begin processing an application for connection to the national electricity grid.
The privately backed company Element Power based in Cork and London is behind the plan to establish an electricity cable called Greenlink joining Wexford with Wales.
The cable will begin underground from Great Island power station in Campile and continue under the Irish Sea where it will join up with the Pembrokeshire Power station in Wales.
The idea behind the plan is to ensure a continuity of supply and reduce electricity prices in both Ireland and the UK. It is scheduled to come into operation in 2023.
The CRU has approved a similar plan to connect Ireland with France at a cost of €1 billion, linking Cork with Brittany.
CRU has told Eirgrid to begin processing applications for the connection of both projects to the national electricity grid.
The CRU's direction indicates the watchdog's approval for both developments and moves them to the next stage of development.
Between them the cables will carry enough electricity to power more than 800,000 homes and the promoters say they will help cut energy prices by opening up new sources of supply to the Republic and other jurisdictions.
Both developments have common interest status which means the European Union regards them as essential to completing Europe's internal energy market, designed to provide cheap and secure energy across the EU. The EU recently pledged to pay €4 million towards the Celtic Interconnector's planning costs. Element Power points out that the EU is 'firmly committed' to its projects of common interest status, despite Brexit. The company has estimated that its interconnector could cut €800 million off Irish electricity bills over the project's lifetime.