Representatives for Ireland’s electricity grid operator EirGrid and France’s grid operator RTE signed financial and technical agreements for the high-voltage submarine cable. The countries’ respective energy ministers witnessed the signing.
European commissioner for energy Kadri Simson said:
In the current energy market situation and the need to move away from imports of Russian fossil fuels, European energy infrastructure has become more important than ever.
The Celtic Interconnector is of paramount importance as it will end Ireland’s isolation from the Union’s power system and ensure a reliable high-capacity link improving the security of electricity supply and supporting the development of renewables in both Ireland and France.
EirGrid and RTE signed €800 million ($827 million) worth of financing agreements with Barclays, BNP Paribas, Danske Bank, and the European Investment Bank.
In 2019, the project was awarded a Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) grant worth €530.7 million to support construction works. The CEF program also provided €8.3 million for the Celtic Interconnector’s feasibility study and initial design and pre-consultation.
Siemens Energy will build converter stations in both countries, and Paris-based global cable company Nexans will design and install a 575-km-long cable for the project.
The cable will run between East Cork, on Ireland’s southern coast, and northwestern France’s Brittany coast and will connect into substations at Knockraha in Ireland and La Martyre in France.
The Celtic Interconnector, which is expected to be operational by 2026, will be approximately 600 km (373 miles) long and have a capacity of 700 MW, which is enough to power 450,000 households.