Ireland's regulator is to finalise the design of a competition this year to build a 500 MW capacity interconnector between Ireland and Wales. The design and launch of the competition is one of the key features of a 2007 work plan put together by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). The aim is for the east-west interconnector, to be owned by Eirgrid, to be commissioned by 2012. Interconnection with Britain will strengthen electricity supply in Ireland's relatively isolated island network and help in connecting increased levels of wind generation. Some interconnection capacity already exists between the Republic and Northern Ireland. Plans for a second north-south interconnector are also at the design stage; it is expected to be built by the end of 2012. Another strand of the CER's work this year will be overseeing the processing of the second round of connection offers to wind developers -- known as Gate 2 -- and looking at the next steps to be taken on renewable connections.
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