Irish planners have approved a proposed €1 billion power line linking the Republic with France.
National grid operator EirGrid and its French equivalent, Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTE), jointly plan to build an electricity line, the Celtic Interconnector, from Cork to Brittany, that will carry 700 megawatts of power in both directions.
State-owned EirGrid confirmed on Monday that An Bord Pleanála has approved the proposal, including the cable route, its landfall in Youghal, Co Cork, convertor station, network connection and associated equipment.
An Bord Pleanála staff gave the go-ahead following a seven-week statutory consultation, along with technical assessments and talks with the local community.
EirGrid sought planning permission in July 2021. Its application included an environmental impact assessment report and a Natura impact statement, which European Union law requires.
The Celtic Interconnector will cost about €1 billion to build. The EU has pledged to provide €530 million of this as it classes the project as one “of common interest”.
These are developments that connect national electricity grids and energy networks in member states.
EirGrid chief infrastructure officer Michael Mahon said the planners' decision brought the project's completion one step closer.
He predicted that the interconnector would help cut electricity costs and improve security of supply.
“A lot of people have been involved in this project and we recognise especially the input of communities in east Cork who have provided important feedback and engaged constructively with the project team,” Mr Mahon added.
He confirmed that EirGrid was poised to begin building work. The company has also sought a foreshore licence for the project, which both it and RTE hope will be finished and operating in 2026.