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Ball rolling on first UK-Irish grid connection

Julian Leslie (National Grid UK), Mike O’Neill (Element Power) and Tom Cowhig (Element Power Ireland)

National Grid UK has confirmed an agreement to build a grid connection of 3,000MW, to be operational by 2018, has been made with Element Power.

The company will now kick off the planning application and consultation for what is believed to be the first such connection below the Irish Sea.

Project ‘greenwire’ will see a series of wind developments in central Ireland exporting electricity to consumers in the UK via two subsea cables.

Greenwire could contribute as much as 10 terawatt hours of clean electricity annually representing 10 percent of the renewable capacity needed for the UK to meets in 2020 renewables targets.

Energy minister Charles Hendry and his Irish counterpart, Pat Rabbitte, have agreed to prepare a memorandum of understanding on the issue by the end of the year.

Julian Leslie, head of electricity customer services at National Grid, said: “National grid is delighted to be signing this grid connection agreement for 3,000MW with Greenwire. This agreement will break new ground by connecting wind generation in Ireland directly to the UK transmission system. We are looking forward to working together with Element Power as we move forward with this unique piece of infrastructure.”

President and chief operating officer of Element Power, Mike O’Neil, said: “The Element Power team has a track record of delivering thousands of megawatts in projects across the globe. Element Power has been committed to Greenwire since its inception over two years ago. Accepting this firm connection date to deliver clean, green electricity before 2020 means we are ready to help the UK government reach its security of supply and renewable energy goals affordably with this market-leading initiative.”

Element Power Ireland ceo, Tim Cowhig, added: “Greenwire is a particularly timely project which will enable the economy to harness our renewable energy resources to our economic advantage. The UK energy requirement has become Ireland’s opportunity, it makes perfect sense to capitalise on our geographic location and create an export industry. Greenwire is the enabling project that will allow this to happen boosting our national trade and generating considerable employment and benefit to the (Irish) Midlands region.”

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