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East-West Interconnector Opens to Link Ireland and Britain

20 Sept 2012

The EirGrid East West Interconnector, Ireland’s first electricity link to Great Britain has been officially opened today. The UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change – RT Hon. Edward Davey today joined the Taoiseach of Ireland – Enda Kenny TD with Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources – Pat Rabbitte, and EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger to mark this landmark event.

The underground and undersea link runs between Deeside in north Wales and Woodland, County Meath in Ireland. It is approximately 160 miles long, the underground and undersea link has the capacity to transport 500 megawatts – which is enough energy to power around 300,000 homes.

The EirGrid Interconnector will have the capability to carry electricity both ways, which will benefit consumers by helping to improve security of supply, increase competitiveness and to encourage the growth of renewable energy generation.

Speaking about the Interconnector, EirGrid Chief Executive Dermot Byrne said,
“The Interconnector ties our energy markets closer together. It gives all concerned additional assurance of supply and it is the single most important step in allowing Ireland to exploit and to export its enormous resources of renewable energy. Critically it also allows us to access energy from Britain and from across the European continent which will result in more competition to the energy market and put downward pressure on prices”.

Secretary of State Edward Davey commented,
“The East West Interconnector is not just an impressive feat of engineering – 186km of sub sea cable laid and ready to operate within just three years of receiving planning permission.

It also brings multiple benefits to the British and Irish economies. This new connection between our electricity grids will improve our mutual energy security, it will improve competition – bearing down on the price ultimately paid by consumers – and it will allow more of Ireland’s abundant wind energy access to the massive UK customer base.

I congratulate everyone involved in this project and look forward to seeing it deliver for both our nations.”

Official trading on the Interconnector is due to begin on 1st October 2012.