Eirgrid plans €30m investment to boost Intel’s power supply

Development will include 220 kilo volt substation and new circuits at Leixlip plant

The Intel facility at Leixlip, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan/ The Irish Times

The Intel facility at Leixlip, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan/ The Irish Times

 

National electricity grid operator Eirgrid plans to boost the network supplying power to high-tech manufacturer Intel in a project that could cost €30-€40 million.

Micro-chip maker Intel’s factory in Leixlip, Co Kildare is one of the State’s largest private sector employers, with almost 5,000 people working at its manufacturing complex.

The company is also one of the Republic’s biggest electricity users, taking its power directly from the national grid, the network that transmits power from generators to local distribution points.

Eirgrid plans a significant upgrade to the network supplying power to Intel. The development will include a new 220 kilo volt substation and new circuits into the factory.

The project could cost between €30 million and €40 million. Intel will pay part of the bill, thought to be about 50 per cent, while Eirgrid and fellow State company ESB will fund the balance.

Eirgrid is carrying out technical and environmental analyses at the site. Once the company completes this, it will decide on the best approach for the development. This will determine the final cost.

The State company will connect the substation to an existing 220kv line running between Maynooth, Co Kildare and Woodland in Meath. The new link will either be a short overhead line or an underground cable.

Eirgrid will apply for planning permission for the project later this year, once it has decided on the best option.

Major expansion

Intel makes micro-chips that drive computers and other devices. The company will begin work at Leixlip this month to prepare for a major expansion there, that is likely to cost billions of euro.

Although Intel has not formally announced plans, Government and other sources expect the multinational to increase manufacturing space at the Kildare factory, creating hundreds of new technician jobs.

The company already has permission for a new 90,000sq m plant at its Irish facility. Last month, Intel said it would boost global manufacturing capacity to meet increased demand for its products.

Separately, Eirgrid plans to spend at least €110 million connecting substations in Woodland, Co Meath and Dunstown, Co Kildare to strengthen its network.

The development is designed to ensure that the grid can meet growing demand in Dublin and the east coast. Electricity consumption in the capital is likely to double demand in the next decade.