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Irish Power to Get Boost From Abroad

Sep 10, 2007 - Daily Mail, London (UK)

A 500MW electricity interconnector to boost Ireland's power supply is to come ashore at Woodland in Co. Meath.

This location has been approved by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) on foot of a detailed study published yesterday.

The interconnector, in the form of a cable laid on the sea bed, is planned to go live by 2011. The project is needed to ensure that any downtime at Irish power stations in the future does not affect continuity of supply.

Its importance has been boosted by continued growth in demand for electricity here.

The study, carried out for CER by the electricity network company EirGrid, looked at five potential connection points for the undersea cable. It examined two sites near Arklow in Co. Wicklow, Inchicore in Dublin, Dunstown in Co. Louth and Woodland, which is on the Co. Meath coast south of Drogheda.

It also examined the cost of reinforcing the surrounding electricity network to take the 500MW power load.

The Woodland site will cost e94million but will need the least amount of reinforcement of the existing grid. The study said: 'Woodland is the preferred and recommended connection point for an east-west interconnector.' CER has instructed EirGrid to prepare to feed power into its network through Woodland.

The new interconnector is seen as having a potential role in allowing UK power operators enter the Irish market in competition with existing generators.

UK utility giant Scottish Southern has said it plans to move into the Irish market.

Such competition would put pressure on existing suppliers on both sides of the border including ESB in the Republic and Viridian in the North.

The Ministry for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources plans to ask CER to arrange a competition for the construction of the Irish end of interconnector project, including the cable laying from the middle of the Irish Sea.

(c) 2007 Daily Mail; London (UK).

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