Construction begins on €1bn Celtic Interconnector

Feature Image Credit: David Creedon: Feasibility study 2018

Work has officially on the €1 billion Celtic Interconnector project.

A joint Irish and French effort, the Celtic Interconnector is a planned subsea cable that will link the electricity grids between France and Ireland.

EirGrid has been working with its French equivalent Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) since 2011 to deliver the project.

Expected to run about 500km in length, it will connect the existing substation in Knockraha, Co Cork to La Martyre in France.

The French electricity cable will run undersea from Brittany, northern France.

It will then make landfall in Youghal and then run mainly along the verge side of the main Cork-Waterford road (N25) into Carrigtwohill and then onto Knockraha, hooking it up to the national grid.

As part of plans, a converter station will be constructed to convert the electricity from High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) to Alternating Current (AC).

The 700-megawatt submarine cable will have enough capacity to power around 450,000 homes.

It is expected to be completed in 2026 with full integration to the grid by 2027.

Providing Ireland with a direct electricity link to the European Union, the cable link is a part of the Offshore Network Development Plan.

Because of this, the European Commission is contributing €530.7 million from the commission’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help complete the design and delivery of the project.

Contracts for the Celtic Interconnector were signed in November 2022, in Paris.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan welcomed the initiation of the project.

“The commencement of construction on the Celtic Interconnector project marks an important part of our wider energy ambitions. Increased electricity interconnection will be a key enabler in our growing use of renewable energy will also help lower energy prices and play a central role in Ireland’s journey to a net zero power system,” he said.

“It will also better integrate European electricity markets, and by using more diversified energy markets, this will improve our electricity security and resilience.”

French Energy Minister, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, said the Celtic Interconnector will “increase the security of supply both for Ireland and France and contribute to the decarbonisation of our electricity mixes”.

Feature Image Credit: David Creedon: Feasibility study 2018