The Celtic Interconnector: Connecting Ireland and Europe
Today, in partnersip with European Movement Ireland, we held a seminar entitled 'Investing to connect Ireland and Europe'.
The webinar featured contributions and discussion from Seán Kelly MEP; Ambassador of France to Ireland, Stéphane Crouzat; Marie Donnelly, Chair of Renewable Energy Ireland and Mark Foley, CEO of EirGrid. The discussion was moderated by journalist Flor Mac Carthy.
Seán Kelly MEP, who spoke at the event, said, “The next ten years are set to be transformative for the country in terms of decarbonising our economy in line with our climate objectives, and the significant step-up in ambition in the Programme for Government in this regard is welcome and timely. The Celtic Interconnector is set to be a vital element of our transition to a greener economy in the second half of the coming decade.”
Ambassador of France to Ireland, Stéphane Crouzat commented, “The Celtic interconnector project has enjoyed tremendous support from the French and Irish governments at the highest level since its inception, with renewed sense of purpose since Brexit. The EU has allocated some 530M€ toward its completion in 2026. The interconnector will boost renewable energies on both sides. It will be Ireland’s physical link to France and the continent, a symbol and material proof of the closeness between our two countries.”
Noelle O Connell, Executive Director of EM Ireland said, “Ireland’s connectivity to the European continent is a longstanding issue and the Celtic Interconnector will be vitally important to our place at the heart of the EU. At what is a crucial time for our relationship with the EU, the financial support from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank for this project will ensure that Ireland will have a direct energy link to the EU’s Internal Energy Market, through France to the rest of Europe, after Brexit. It is through such collaborative projects such as this, with our EU partners, that Ireland will be able to effectively tackle climate change, a goal of significant common interest for Ireland, France and the EU.”
Mark Foley, CEO of EirGrid commented, “The Celtic Interconnector is arguably the most important infrastructure project in Ireland at the moment. The interconnector connects the Irish grid with continental-Europe for the first time. It will put downward pressure on electricity prices, secure our electricity supply and bring a high-capacity fibre-optic cable into the Cork region. It also represents a step-change in terms of achieving a low-carbon island as it will play a key role as we deploy increasing amounts of renewable generation on the Irish power system. Working with our French partners, Rté France, the strategic importance of the project has been recognised by the European Union with a substantial grant of €530million.”
Marie Donnelly, Chair of Renewable Energy Ireland commented, “Ireland has one of the greatest resources for renewable electricity. Achieving its ambitious target of 70% renewable electricity by 2030 will catapult Ireland into a globally leading position giving Ireland cost effective decarbonised electricity. This will benefit consumers but will require community support for the necessary infrastructure, leading edge technology in our systems as well as cooperation with other electricity markets through interconnectors to ensure security of supply i.e. keeping the lights on. Experience also has shown that consumers save money as cross border trading allows access to cheaper power - in France the kWh costs 19 cents as compared to 25 cents in Ireland.”