Eirgrid is planning a €1bn interconnector to France to be completed by 2025 as part of a plan to integrate Ireland into the wider European electric grid.
The operators of the Irish electricity network said they were in advanced talks with the operators of the French national grid, Réseau de Transport d’Électricité, and would complete the final part of pre-tender planning by early next year.
A multi-million euro seabed survey between Ireland and France will be the final part of the jigsaw before Eirgrid starts tendering, chief executive Fintan Slye said at the launch of Eirgrid’s annual report in Cork.
“The seabed survey would be the final piece in the jigsaw of the cost benefit analysis,” he said.
Mr Slye said there was a strong business case for building a transmission cable that would allow Irish consumers access cheap French nuclear power, and Ireland would benefit by creating a market for our excess wind power.
Mr Slye revealed that the East West Interconnector has recently begun operating at its full 500mw capacity.
It was one of the biggest energy projects undertaken in the state with an off the shelf price of €600m.
Eirgrid received substantial support from Europe.
Eirgrid chairperson Bernie Gray said Europe was generally supportive of all project to integrate national grids.
“The thrust is towards a more European integrated market, an EC perspective. They favour strongly more interconnection in order to maximise security of supply for Europe as a whole and using it to connect to more peripheral regions, such as ourselves as we can contribute to security of supply given what we have, being one of the windiest countries in the world,” she said.
Overall Eirgrid reported revenue of €542m on €2.36bn of power traded across the national grid.
After costs, the company reported an operating profit of €23.3m down from €30.3m.
The fall in profits was put down to over-recovery on regulated tariffs.
As a semi-state company, the chief executive saw his salary fall.
Mr Slye’s remuneration package declined by €47,000 to €236,000.
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