London, 11 May 2022
• Funding secured for the project’s development to position MaresConnect as Ireland’s next interconnector
• MaresConnect will make a major contribution to achieving Ireland’s 2030 environmental goals
Foresight Group Holdings Limited¹, the listed sustainability-led infrastructure and private equity investment manager, has acquired a majority stake in the MaresConnect² interconnector project (“MaresConnect”), through its energy transition fund, Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners (“FEIP”). Etchea Energy Nominees Limited³ (“Etchea Energy”) will retain the remaining shareholding. The shareholders will work together to complete the development of MaresConnect through to financial close and the start of construction at end 2024.
MaresConnect is a proposed 750MW electricity interconnector linking the power markets of Ireland and Great Britain4. The cable route is approximately 245km in length and will run underground and under the sea between Dublin in Ireland and Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire in Wales. As part of Europe’s 2022 Ten Year Network Development Plan5 (“TYNDP”), MaresConnect is considered one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects that will form part of a system that is secure, sustainable and affordable, and that integrates Ireland’s renewable energy, thereby offering an essential contribution to the European Green Deal.
Simon Ludlam, partner at Etchea Energy and CEO of MaresConnect, said; “We are delighted to welcome Foresight, a well-established and respected infrastructure investor, into the MaresConnect project and look forward to working toward realising the benefits for consumers, energy security and regional jobs and investment in Ireland and Wales. MaresConnect will increase interconnector capacity between Ireland and GB by 50% and make a material contribution to Ireland achieving its 2030 environmental targets as well as providing a cost-efficient export route for Ireland’s growing offshore wind sector.”
Richard Thompson, Co-Manager of FEIP and Foresight Partner commented: “This investment represents another very exciting development for both Foresight and FEIP, which is seeking investments into infrastructure that will accelerate the energy transition. Given recent geopolitical events, the economic and social case for increased levels of interconnection has become even more compelling, enhancing European energy security, reducing power prices for consumers and accommodating more renewable energy on the system. We believe this asset will play a pivotal role in the transmission of clean energy between Ireland and Great Britain and are very much looking forward to working with the experienced management team to oversee its development.”
MaresConnect secured a 750MW grid connection at National Grid’s Bodelwyddan substation in 2018 and procurement for the major onshore survey contracts is currently under way. The project will apply for cap & floor regulation in the UK under Ofgem’s third window which is scheduled to open over the summer. The project is expected to have a three-year construction programme leading to operations in 2027.
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Notes to Editors:
- Foresight Group was founded in 1984 and is a leading listed infrastructure and private equity investment manager. With a long-established focus on ESG and sustainability-led strategies, it aims to provide attractive returns to its institutional and private investors from hard-to-access private markets. Foresight manages over 300 infrastructure assets with a focus on solar and onshore wind assets, bioenergy and waste, as well as renewable energy enabling projects, energy efficiency management solutions, social and core infrastructure projects and sustainable forestry assets. Its private equity team manages eight regionally focused investment funds across the UK and a SME impact fund supporting Irish SMEs. This team reviews close to 2,500 business plans each year and currently supports more than 130 SMEs. Foresight Capital Management manages four strategies across six investment vehicles with an AUM of over £1.6 billion.
Foresight operates from 12 offices across six countries in Europe and Australia with AUM of £8.7 billion as at 31 March 2022. Foresight Group Holdings Limited listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange in February 2021 https://www.fsg-investors.com/
- The Foresight investment is in MaresConnect Holdings Limited, which is a holding company for MaresConnect Limited.
- Etchea Energy Partners LLP, based in London and Dublin, is a leading project development firm in the energy sector. Etchea Energy will provide the core management team to MaresConnect and leverage its broad experience in developing interconnectors in Northwest Europe.
- MaresConnect is a proposed 750MW, subsea and underground cable interconnector (with associated converter stations) between the existing electricity grids in Ireland and Great Britain, operated respectively by EirGrid and National Grid Electricity Transmission. The project will link the Maynooth substation near Dublin (Ireland) and Bodelwyddan transmission substation in Denbighshire (Wales). Further details can be found at the project’s website: www.maresconnect.ie
- MaresConnect has been recognised as a TYNDP 2022 project by ENTSO-E following support received from both the Irish and UK governments.