Eirgrid makes case for third interconnector between Ireland and UK

IRELAND: A third interconnector linking the island of Ireland to the UK mainland would be "economically attractive," says a report by Ireland's transmission system operator Eirgrid.

Eirgrid: A third interconnector with the UK would be
Eirgrid: A third interconnector with the UK would be

At present, just one interconnector between the two island nations currently exists—the Moyle link between Northern Ireland and Scotland, while a second one is in development. This is the 500 MW East-West interconnector between Ireland and north Wales which is expected to go live in 2012.

Eirgrid’s report makes the case for a third 500 MW link by 2020, while a fourth would be economically feasible by 2025 in some situations such as a high penetration of renewables, it says.

The economics for further links improve as more renewable generation—particularly wind—is connected to the system, it adds. The study also looks at possible interconnection with France.

It finds some benefits but says that more detailed modelling is needed before drawing firm conclusions. Eirgrid now plans to look into detailed costs and the technical feasibility of different interconnector routes.

At the end of October the amount of electricity generated from Ireland’s wind farms broke the 1 GW barrier for the first time. On October 24, wind output reached 1.064 GW, generating 33% of electricity at times.

The country has a total of 90 wind farms connected to the system with a total of 1.16 GW of maximum capacity. However the Irish wind industry believes further interconnection with the UK and Europe is essential to allow the country to make full use of its impressive wind resource.

While Ireland has a renewables target of 40% by 2020, most of which will be met by wind power, energy minister Eamon Ryan has made clear that this goal is not the limit of his ambitions.

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