Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Ceisteanna (85)

Neale Richmond

Ceist:

85. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the status of the development of the Celtic interconnector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1331/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The Celtic Interconnector is a €1 billion electricity interconnector jointly proposed by EirGrid and their French counterparts, the French transmission system operator, RTÉ (Reseau de Transporte d’Électricite). It is proposed as a 575km long (500km subsea), 700MW cable from the north-west coast of France to the south coast of Ireland. At this scale it would be able to provide electricity for some 450,000 homes.

The Celtic Interconnector will provide a reliable high-capacity electricity link between Ireland and France that will have significant benefits for the people of Ireland. The project will provide access to the European internal energy market, leading to expected increased competition and lower prices in Ireland.  It will also enhance security of electricity supply and facilitate increased capacity for renewable energy here via export access to the mainland European markets.

In late 2019 the European Commission announced a grant of €530 million towards the construction of the interconnector under the Connecting Europe Facility fund. This grant was made possible by significant support for the project from the Irish Government that resulted in its designation as an EU Project of Common Interest.

Extensive planning by EirGrid and a period of public consultation took place last year with regard to the development of interconnector infrastructure, following which decisions were reached on the interconnector's location in East Cork.  A further decision was arrived at by EirGrid regarding the establishment of an enhanced community benefit scheme for impacted communities.

While I have no function in this matter, my officials have been informed that EirGrid will likely submit its planning application for Celtic Interconnector project in Spring this year with the project estimated to be completed in 2026.

Question No. 86 answered with Question No. 82.