Eversheds Sutherland’s construction and procurement team has supported EirGrid Group and Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTÉ) on a significant energy-transition project.
The Celtic Interconnector is a 700MW subsea cable or ‘electricity highway’ that will allow electricity to be exported between Ireland and France.
The high-voltage submarine power cable will link the southern coast of Ireland and the north-west coast of France, and will be the first interconnector between Ireland and continental Europe. France already has 50 electricity connections with its European neighbours.
This strategically important €1 billion-plus cross-border project will enhance energy security, drive down energy costs and support the achievement of climate goals, the law firm has said.
Electricity grid operator EirGrid and its French counterpart Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTÉ) have signed key technical and financial agreements for the Celtic Interconnector.
Contracts have been signed with Siemens Energy for the development of converter stations in Ireland and France, and with French cable manufacturer Nexans, which will design and install the 575km cable between the two countries.
Agreements have also been signed for €800 million in financing, to be provided by the European Investment Bank, Danske Bank, Barclays and BNP.
EirGrid Chief Executive Mark Foley said: “The Celtic Interconnector is a key part of EirGrid’s strategic goal to transform Ireland’s power system and increase the use of renewable electricity. Interconnection with France makes the power system more resilient and efficient and allows renewables to become the primary energy source on the national grid.”
The Celtic Interconnector will travel 575km from East Cork to the north-west coast of Brittany, and will be able to import and export enough electricity to power 450,000 homes. It is expected that the project will be built and operational by 2026.
The EU has designated it a Project of Common Interest (PCI) – an infrastructure project that links the energy systems of EU countries and provides access to financial support through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) that funds the development of Europe’s energy, transport and digital networks.
The Eversheds Sutherland team was led by Mark Varian, David Jones, Jacques Bouillon, Olivier Le Bars and Peter Curran.