NATIONAL ELECTRICITY network operator Eirgrid yesterday got the green light for its planned €600 million power link between Wales and Ireland.
Eirgrid said that An Bord Pleanála has given it permission to build an interconnector between the east coast and north Wales that will transmit electricity between Britain and Ireland.
The interconnector will have the capacity to carry 500 megawatts of electricity, roughly the same amount as of that generated by a medium-sized power plant.
According to Eirgrid, this is enough power to supply 300,000 homes. The project will require an investment of €600 million. Its construction will create about 100 jobs and work will be finished in 2012.
The grid operator has hired Swedish company ABB to carry out the work. The firm manufactures cables, switches and most equipment needed by electricity transmission systems. It also designs and builds the systems itself.
The interconnector will link Deeside in north Wales and Woodland in Co Meath, where Eirgrid operates a substation. It will come ashore close to Rush, Co Dublin.
Eirgrid, a State agency, applied to An Bord Pleanála’s strategic infrastructure division for permission to build the interconnector. Eirgrid chief executive Dermot Byrne described the planning board’s decision as a major milestone, and added that the project will be delivered on time.
“As an island of five million people that is over 90 per cent dependent on imported fossil fuels for our energy, we have an immediate and pressing need to improve our security of supply, and to enhance our capacity to generate renewable energy. The east-west interconnector will help us do both,” he said.