Published on September 26th, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown2
UK–Ireland Energy Cable Opens to Bolster Wind Power
September 26th, 2012 by Nicholas Brown
The first power grid connection between Ireland and the United Kingdom has been constructed.
It can transmit 500 MW of electricity across the Irish Sea and it cost €600 million.
This enables the UK and Ireland to purchase electricity from each other.
One of the benefits to the wind industries in these countries is that they won’t be limited to selling surplus wind energy in their own countries anymore, but they can sell it to buyers in the UK or Ireland.
Ireland can purchase electricity from the UK to back up its wind farms on calm days, as well.
A Step Towards a Much Greater Project
This cable project is called the EirGrid Interconnector, and it was inaugurated by Ed Davey, the UK secretary for energy and climate change. The cable is 260 km (348 miles) long, and extends from County Meath in Ireland, to North Wales in the United Kingdom.
The cable also marks a step towards a European “supergrid” that would enable European countries to buy electricity from each other, even Ireland. Ireland would be able to access European power from across the continent through this new UK transmission line.
The state-owned EirGrid said the project had been delivered on time and approximately €30 million under budget.
Ed Davey said the interconnector would be vital in strengthening the supply of renewables, which could in turn help reduce consumer bills.
“The East West Interconnector is not just an impressive feat of engineering,” he said. “It also brings multiple benefits to the British and Irish economies.
“This new connection between our electricity grids will improve our mutual energy security, it will improve competition – bearing down on the price ultimately paid by consumers – and it will allow more of Ireland’s abundant wind energy access to the massive UK customer base.”
“The need for action is clear,” he said. “Ireland’s East West Interconnector will double electricity interconnection between the UK and Ireland and will provide a greater opportunity to trade electricity between the two markets. It is a key part of building a single European energy market.”