Construction has begun on a new 190km interconnector cable between Wales and Ireland.
Greenlink Interconnector Limited announced financial close on construction of the 500MW subsea and underground electricity interconnector yesterday.
The cable will stretch between Wexford, Ireland and Pembrokeshire, Wales – connecting the power grids of Ireland and Great Britain.
Onshore works have now begun in Wexford and Pembrokeshire, with the project expected to take three years to complete, with commissioning scheduled for the end of 2024.
Overall, the Greenlink project comprises a high-voltage direct current cable system, two converter stations, a tail station at Great Island in Wexford and onshore cable works in Wexford and Pembrokeshire.
Its nominal capacity of 500MW is enough to power around 380,000 homes. As well as providing downward pressure on wholesale energy prices, the new grid connection will provide greater security of supply for electricity consumers.
“One of Europe’s most important energy projects”
The project is the first privately-financed interconnector in Europe supported under the Cap and Floor regulatory regimes in the UK and Ireland and represents a total investment of over €500m (£419m).
Partners Group, which owns Greenlink on behalf of its clients, has secured debt financing for the project with a consortium of banks to fund construction.
The construction start follows the contract award for the engineering, procurement and construction in September last year to a consortium of Siemens Energy and Sumitomo Electric.
James O’Reilly, Greenlink chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have reached financial close on one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects.
“It will deliver a range of benefits at this critical time in the energy transition, from local jobs and investment to energy security and the cost-effective integration of renewables to help Ireland and the UK meet their climate change goals.
“This milestone is testament to a great deal of skill and hard work from the Greenlink team and our advisers, with the support of stakeholders. We look forward to working with Partners Group, the EPC contractors and the local community to achieve successful delivery of the project in 2024.”
The planning application for the project was submitted back in 2019.
Greenlink will offer employment and supply chain opportunities during construction and the EPC contractors have held ‘Meet-the-Buyer’ events in Wales and Ireland to engage with potential suppliers.
Proactive engagement with residents and the local communities in the vicinity of the project will continue throughout the construction phase and details of how to contact the local project teams can be found on the Greenlink website.
Image credit: North Sea Link – Saga Subsea
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