Published: Thu, 16 July 2015
MEP for Ireland South, Seán Kelly, has welcomed the €3.8 million in funding for the Ireland-France electricity interconnector from the European Commission and called on the French and Irish government to strengthen cooperation in developing renewable energy to the benefit of both countries.
“This potential new link between Ireland and France would secure our energy supply through diversification and bring significant economic opportunities for Irish businesses while helping Europe reach its climate and energy targets.”
“EU plans to integrate our energy markets will benefit consumers through increased competition, greater choice and lower electricity prices,” Mr Kelly said.
A decision on whether or not to proceed with the interconnector is expected in mid-2016.
The funding announced this week enables EirGrid, Ireland’s state-owned electricity grid operator, to ensure that the strongest possible feasibility study is carried out.
Mr Kelly highlighted Ireland’s potential to provide offshore-generated renewable electricity to France, in turn capitalising on Ireland’s significant renewable resources:
“Increased regional cooperation will be an important step towards achieving the Energy Union. Ireland has huge offshore renewable energy potential, particularly ocean and wind energy – in fact we have one of the world’s largest offshore resources, and this will be of interest to a French government who now seek to increase their share of renewables as an alternative to nuclear power to meet their targets.
“Tapping into these resources, particularly in the offshore wind sector, would enable us to develop the Irish indigenous export sector and reap the economic benefits that come with it.”
MEP Kelly has urged the Irish and French governments to work closely together and ensure that the potential of Irish offshore renewable resources is fully exploited.
“This announcement could be the catalyst to ensure work is done to bridge the connection between our resources on the east coast and the new interconnector – perhaps this connection could be part of a final project. Along with the revenues that would come from supplying France with renewable electricity, it would also bring significant job creation to Ireland,” he concluded.