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Ireland unveils its ambitious new Electricity Interconnection plans

The government yesterday published an updated policy statement on electricity interconnection.

Interconnection of electricity supply between Ireland and other countries can provide energy security market for excess generation, diversified market access, lower prices as well as potential grid resilience.

Since the publication of the first national policy statement on Electricity Interconnection in 2018, Ireland’s energy consumption needs have increased and the State’s renewable energy ambitions have gained significant momentum resulting in increased ambition for Ireland to ultimately be in a position to export excess capacity generated by renewables. Increased connectively will be a key enabler of realizing Ireland’s energy ambition as it transitions to being a net energy exporter.

The proposed policy plans, if implemented would see Ireland increase its electricity interconnection capacity and explore new interconnection opportunities with the likes of Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as further connections to both Great Britain and France.

The government has set out 17 policy commitments, key among them include:

  • Increasing interconnectivity;
  • Prioritizing proposed projects;
  • considering the following future connections:
    • a second connection with France;
    • a connection to Spain;
    • a further connection to Great Britain beyond 2030;
    • a connection to Belgium or the Netherlands
    • Further interconnections which might be required to support the export of renewable electricity in the context of other uses, such as green hydrogen
  • developing an Offshore Transmission Strategy;
  • exploring the potential for multipurpose interconnectors;
  • The integration of interconnector forward planning with new phases in offshore renewable energy developments,

Ireland’s current interconnection capacity currently stands at 500 MW (the East-West Connection with the UK) and will increase to a further 1,700MW upon completion of the Celtic Interconnector with Ireland and France and the Greenlink Interconnector. William Fry have a key role in advising EirGrid plc on the development and financing of this Interconnector.

The updated policy considers that although at conceptual project state, the development of future projects could increase capacity to more than 5,000 MW by 2033. The statement notes that these early proposals may not all align with emergent needs and the expansion of generation and interconnection needs coordinated development in the wider context of security and diversity.

It is noted that given the roles and functions of each of the CRU and EirGrid, each will play a significant role in the development and evolution of projects progressed under the government’s proposed strategy.

In determining the policy approach to significant projects of common interest such as these, the government addresses that the key factors of cost/benefit, timing and location will all come into play. Considerations on the general landscape of Ireland’s emergent and fast-moving policies in renewables and the contingent nature and interplay of matters such as national and international grid expansion and electricity demand are all expressly acknowledged in the policy.


The policy statement is another welcome step forward towards the development of Ireland’s ambitious renewable energy goals.