This week I had the honour of representing Ireland in Brussels at the signing of the Celtic Interconnector agreement with the European Commission.
Ireland will receive a €530 million grant from the European Commission for the interconnector, which will link Brittany and Cork.
The electricity link to France will not only join us to the French market but it will also ensure that we are embedded in the EU’s internal energy market.
The interconnector will also include telecommunications capacity, providing a direct fibre connection to continental Europe. Currently there is no direct connectivity with France so all traffic between Ireland and the rest of Europe has to pass through the UK.
The Interconnector will be 575kms long, most of which will be under water.
Once built, its 700 megawatts capacity will power 450,000 households. It will help Ireland to switch to 70% renewable energy as set out in the Government’s Climate Action Plan.
The Interconnector is also likely to drive down electricity
prices for the consumer through increased competition.
The signing event was hosted by the European Commission with Commissioner for Energy Kadrj Simson,
and EU Director-General for Energy Ditte Juul Jorgenson. Also in attendance was Ireland’s Commissioner Phil Hogan.
I also met the EU’s Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton at the EU Telecommunications Council earlier in the day, which I attended as Ireland’s representative.