Due to run from Batterstown in Meath to Turleenan in Co Tyrone, construction of the Interconnector will increase the capacity and the reliability of interconnection between the two networks. It will allow the two independent networks to operate together as if they were one system.
This increase in interconnection capacity will eliminate current restrictions in cross border support if a shortage of electricity in one jurisdiction were to happen. EirGrid has also stated that operating the two networks as if they were one system will bring cost savings for all electricity consumers as larger electricity systems can be operated more efficiently than smaller ones.
In its decision to approve the scheme, An Bord Pleanala said the Interconnector would remove existing restrictions that limit cross border electricity flows and provide benefits to the economies of both jurisdictions and for individual consumers. It also said that having considered the alternatives, a 400 kilovolt overhead line would be the most appropriate and cost effective solution for current requirements. Authorities in Northern Ireland haven’t approved the proposed section of the project planned across the border yet.
The Chief Executive of Eirgrid welcomed the decision by An Bord Pleanála, saying the interconnector was a “critical piece of national infrastructure”. He also recognised the concerns and issues that exist among landowners and community groups and added that Eirgrid was committed to working with them to try and address their concerns.