6 December 2023
By Elaine Murphy
The Celtic Interconnector project will create an electrical interconnection between Ireland and France to allow the exchange of electricity between the two countries. The connection will link the existing electricity substation located in Knockraha (in east Cork) to the substation in La Martyre (Finistère, France).
Councillors of the East Cork and Cobh Municipal Districts were provided with a progress update on the construction of the Celtic Interconnector project, the subsea cable linking the electricity grids of Ireland and France, at the districts’ monthly meetings on Monday.
EirGrid representatives told the meetings that since technical and financial contracts were signed on the project in November 2022, engineering, procurement and construction contractors are actively progressing works along the cable route from Knockraha substation and at the converter station site in Ballyadam, outside Carrigtwohill.
Along with this, councillors were informed that approximately one thousand meters of trenching and ducting has been completed along the cable route since works commenced last month.
Both meetings were also informed that in line with these works commencing, the first phase of funding from the Celtic Interconnector Community Benefit Fund is due to be released imminently.
The fund, which was established to recognise communities who host this critical grid infrastructure, is available to groups and not-for-profit organisations within 2km of the Celtic Interconnector project area.
The meeting heard that east Cork based fund administrator, SECAD Partnership CLG, has been working with communities and groups to ensure funding is delivered in a fair and balanced way, and ongoing support will be available to communities to assist with sourcing additional funding streams or match funding for projects that may require this support.
Outlining the fund, EirGrid’s Head of Public Engagement, Sinead Dooley told councillors: “People have welcomed this project and are engaged. We want groups to work together so initiatives within communities can be successful and match funding can be identified where possible, in order to maximise the benefit from all funding streams.”
“We will continue to work with communities to build capacity, so that each phase of funding will create the most impact in communities in east Cork,” added Dooley.
Fielding questions from both meetings, onshore project manager of the Celtic Interconnector, Shane Cooney reassured councillors that EirGrid is working closely with contractors to ensure roads will be reinstated according to commitments set out to the local authority.
Cooney also informed both meetings that as a result of ongoing engagement with the public, enhancements and adjustments to road closures have been made to ensure impacts to communities during the works are kept to a minimum, including during the upcoming Christmas period.
A number of local representatives cited a marked increase in project communications from EirGrid in order to provide updates by way of letter drops, in person information days and a free text service.
To receive text updates, subscribe to the FREE Text service by texting INTER to 50015 and for more information about the project visit www.eirgrid.ie/celticinterconnector