A power line allowing Ireland to import and export electricity to the UK can be built between Rush in Co Dublin and north Wales, a feasibility study has found.
The East West Interconnector, which will be up to 250km long and will connect the Irish and UK transmission systems, is expected to go ahead early next year after a major survey of the seabed found there was no obstacles.
And once operational, the interconnector will allow Ireland to become more reliant on renewable sources of energy – such as wind power – because there is a back-up source of power available.
“It allows us to increase our dependency on renewables because we can call on extra supply from the UK and we can export any excess,” Valerie Hedin from EirGrid said yesterday.
“The analysis was important to ensure there were no obstacles on the seabed.”
The interconnector is being developed by EirGrid and will allow power for up to 350,000 homes (500MW) to be sent between Ireland and the UK.
Grid connection points have been secured at Woodland in Co Meath and Deeside in north Wales, and a convertor – which is about the size of a warehouse – will have to be built near Woodland. The cable in which power is transported will run underground.
With the demand for energy estimated to grow at an average yearly rate of between 2.7pc and 3.6pc over the next seven years, the East West Interconnector will contribute to securing energy supply in Ireland.
“The completion of the marine survey marks an important step forward for this project. It involved taking samples of the seabed in order to test and measure its suitability for cable installation,” project director John Fitzgerald added.
“During this comprehensive survey, geophysical and geotechnical samples were taken along our preferred route corridor from Rush Bay to the vicinity of Prestatyn in north Wales. Three separate landfalls at Rush and two landfalls at the Welsh coast were investigated with the corridor width extending to one kilometre at some points.”
The final route is expected to be announced this summer.
– Paul Melia
28 May 2008
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