30/05/2006

£120m North-South electricity link announced

A North-South electricity interconnector costing £120 million (€180m), will be put in place between County Tyrone and County Cavan.

The new development in electricity infrastructure was announced today by Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) and ESB National Grid, and is expected to be in place by 2012.

The interconnector will deliver significant benefits to all electricity customers, including facilitating choice and competition in electricity supply by promoting trading in wholesale power, strengthening the security of electricity supply, and support the future growth of renewable generation.

This cross-border initiative is the latest stage in a plan by the British and Irish governments to develop an all-island energy market.

An existing interconnector between Tandragee and County Louth has a capacity of around 300MW, enough power to supply the equivalent of 300,000 homes, however the new link, which will be situated further west, will more than double the cross border electricity trading capability carried between the north and south of Ireland.

The interconnector project is the culmination of detailed studies carried out by NIE and the ESB National Grid in recent years, investigating how best the interconnection could assist the needs of customers in the future.

The project will now be subject to the full planning process with funding arrangements for construction and operation being decided by Regulators at a later date.

(EF/SP)

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