Dublin, 27 July 2023
- Department for the Environment, Climate and Communications confirms further interconnection to Great Britain by 2030
MaresConnect welcomes the publication of the Irish Government’s National Policy Statement on Electricity Interconnection, announced on 25 July 2023 by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan.
The Interconnector Policy confirms Ireland’s support for further connection between Ireland and Great Britain by 2030, with proposed projects that have the most realistic prospects of delivery by 2030 being progressed as soon as possible.
A study carried out by external consultants, DNV, to support the policy found that “Additional interconnection in 2030 beyond existing projects, or projects that are already at an advance stage of development, has significant economic benefits for the Single Electricity Market and supports the achievement of Ireland’s 2030 energy objectives and de-risks offshore wind development.”
MaresConnect is a proposed 750MW interconnector project between Ireland and Wales, aiming to commence operations in 2029¹. MaresConnect has a grid connection agreement with National Grid in Great Britain, and was granted an interconnector licence from Ofgem in 20222. Ofgem is currently assessing MaresConnect’s application for Cap and Floor regulation in Great Britain as part of its Third Cap & Floor window, with a decision expected by the end of 2023. MaresConnect is planning to undertake marine surveys in 2024, ahead of making planning applications in Ireland and Wales in 2025.
“We are encouraged to have the Interconnector Policy in hand, and we commend the Government for addressing both the urgent need for further interconnection in the immediate future, as well as taking a proactive approach to planning further connections into the future“, said Simon Ludlam, Partner at Etchea Energy3 and CEO of MaresConnect. “This forward-thinking policy paves the way for increased interconnection capacity, enabling the integration of renewable energy sources, diversification of the energy mix, and enhanced energy security. It presents a significant opportunity for Ireland to become a regional energy hub and a model for sustainable development“.
Pat O’Doherty, Chairman of MaresConnect said “We welcome the Government’s commitment to prioritise projects with the earliest possible delivery prospects, as well as the recognition of the urgent need for further interconnection with our closest neighbour. The development of MaresConnect is led by a highly experienced team with a track record of delivering interconnector projects between Ireland and Great Britain and in Europe. This policy will allow the team to accelerate the development of MaresConnect to align with the progress in Great Britain and achieve the earliest possible operations date”.
Richard Thompson, Partner at Foresight Group4 said “This policy demonstrates DECC’s recognition of the vital role interconnectors play in creating a robust and resilient energy infrastructure, as well as the urgency of increasing Ireland’s connection to Great Britain”.
This new policy allows MaresConnect to progress key development steps in Ireland in 2023, paving the way to reach financial close and commence construction in 2026 and become operational in 2029. We look forward to working closely with government entities, energy regulators, and industry stakeholders to develop the project and allow Ireland to reach its goal of further connection with Great Britain before 2030.
As Ireland takes decisive steps towards achieving its climate and energy objectives, MaresConnect remains committed to its dedication to providing an efficient interconnector deliverable by 2030. We are enthusiastic to engage with the Department for the Environment, Climate and Communications, the CRU and EirGrid to progress MaresConnect’s applications in Ireland, and we stand ready to play a key role in Ireland’s energy transition.
MaresConnect is being developed by Foresight Group’s energy transition fund, Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners, and Etchea Energy.