East–West Interconnector

The East–West Interconnector is a 500 MW high-voltage direct current submarine and subsoil power cable which connects the Irish and British electricity markets. The project has been developed by the Irish national grid operator EirGrid.

East–West Interconnector
CountryUnited Kingdom, Ireland
General directionEast–West
FromShotton, North Wales 53°13′38″N 3°4′22″W / 53.22722°N 3.07278°W
Passes throughIrish Sea
ToRush North Beach, County Dublin 53°28′16″N 6°34′3″W / 53.47111°N 6.56750°W
Ownership information
Construction information
Manufacturer of conductor/cableABB
Manufacturer of substationsABB
Construction started2010
Technical information
Typesubmarine cable
Type of currentHVDC Light
Total length261 km (162 mi)
Power rating500 MW
AC voltage400 kV
DC voltage±200 kV
No. of circuits1
EW 1 East–West Interconnector
CountryUnited Kingdom, Ireland
General directioneast–west
FromPentir, North Wales
Passes throughIrish Sea
ToArklow, County Wicklow
Ownership information
PartnersImera Power
Construction information
Manufacturer of conductor/cableABB
Manufacturer of substationsABB
Technical information
Typesubmarine cable
Type of currentHVDC Light
Total length135 km (84 mi)
Power rating350 MW
AC voltage220/400 kV
DC voltage±150 kV
No. of circuits1


The interconnector is aimed to increase competition and security of supply, and better use the capacity of wind energy.[1] The additional capacity headroom provided by the interconnection will assist in reducing the Electricity Supply Board's dominant position in the Irish electricity market. By joining the two markets it will allow Irish suppliers to access power in the British market and for Britain-based suppliers to enter the Irish market without initially having to commit to large capital expenditure, significantly reducing barriers to entry. Irish renewable generators will benefit from the interconnection as it will increase their available market and may make it more economically attractive to construct more large scale renewable generation.

ESB Power Generation announced in 2007 its intention to withdraw approximately 1,300 MW of capacity by 2010. This would effectively reduce the installed capacity of fully dispatchable plant from 6,437 MW to 5,150 MW. This closure of older inefficient power plants, such as a 461 MW fossil fuel capacity at Poolbeg Generating Station Dublin,[2] and coupled with the high growth demand forecasts presented, created a major threat to the security of the Irish electricity grid.[3]

The interconnection will enhance security of supply and grid stability on both countries and create conditions suitable for the development of a new regional market. The European Commission has expressed the view that European electricity markets would benefit from further interconnection investments. The EU Trans-European Energy Networks Project have classified the UK–Irish Interconnector as a priority project.


At 262km in length, 186km of which is beneath the Irish Sea, the East West Interconnector links the electricity transmission grids of Ireland and Great Britain, from converter stations at Portan in Ireland to Shotton in Wales.


Studies for the UK–Irish interconnection date back to the 1970s when the Irish Electricity Supply Board first examined the possibility of linking the UK and Irish electricity grids. Further studies were conducted in the early 1990s and a joint study was recently conducted between Electricity Supply Board and National Grid plc with the support of the European Union.

In 2004 the Commission for Energy Regulation on request of the Irish Government sought proposals from the private sector to construct two 500MW merchant interconnectors between Ireland and Wales. A private project was established by Imera Power who was contracted to develop two 350 MW interconnectors through its affiliate East West Cable One Ltd. in 2006.

In 2006 the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, instructed the Commission for Energy Regulation to commence the development of a regulated interconnector of 500 MW as it was deemed to be critical infrastructure.

Eirgrid commenced work on the East West Interconnector in 2007. It was completed in 2012 and on 20 September 2012 it was inaugurated in Meath by UK secretary for energy and climate change Ed Davey, Irish prime minister Enda Kenny and European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger.[4]

On 8 September 2016, the interconnector had a fault that occurred during an annual maintenance at the converter station in Meath. The maintenance was carried out by contractor ABB. The interconnector re-entered service on 20 December 2016 with a fully rated 500 MW import, however exports to the UK were still limited to roughly 280MW.[5] As of June 2017 the cable is at full capacity in both directions.

Technical features

The Eirgrid East–West Interconnector has a total length of 261 kilometres (162 mi), of which 186 kilometres (116 mi) is submarine cable and 75 kilometres (47 mi) is subsoil cable. The link connects converter stations at Rush North Beach, County Dublin, Ireland, and Barkby Beach, Prestatyn, Wales. The interconnection uses ±200 kV HVDC Light cables with a capacity of 500 MW. It is the first HVDC Light transmission system project, to use ±200 kV cables. The cables and converter stations were provided by ABB.[1][6] The project was financed by a €300 million loan from the European Investment Bank, capital investments from commercial banks, EirGrid equity and a €110 million grant from the European Commission.[7]

East West Cable One Ltd. project

A competing project was undertaken by East West Cable One Ltd (EW1), also known as the East West Interconnector. The EW1 cable with a capacity of 350 MW was to be connected at Arklow substation in County Wicklow and Pentir Substation near Bangor in North Wales. The second cable known as EW2 was a second phase project with a capacity of 350–500 MW was proposed between Wexford and Pembroke.

Both developments were to be funded by the private sector on commercial basis; their costs would not be recovered by system tariffs for all end users in either UK or Ireland, but rather by the users of the cable, large wholesale energy traders. Corresponding exemption from the third party access rule was granted by the European Commission on 23 November 2009 for 25 years for phase one and 20 years for phase two.[8]

Since 2016, the associated websites for these projects have been mothballed.

Eirgrid Interconnector Sites

Site Coordinates
Shotton Static Inverter Plant 53°13′38″N 3°4′22″W / 53.22722°N 3.07278°W
Cable enters sea 53°20′41″N 3°24′8″W / 53.34472°N 3.40222°W
Cable leaves sea 53°31′29″N 6°4′56″W / 53.52472°N 6.08222°W
Woodland HVDC Static Inverter 53°28′16″N 6°34′3″W / 53.47111°N 6.56750°W


  1. ^ a b "East West Interconnector". ABB. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  2. ^ http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_1010398.shtml Poolbeg Thermal (461MW) (Dublin) (Oil / Gas). Poolbeg comprises two separate plants: the three thermal units (461MW) and the combined cycle gas plant (460MW) which opened in 2000 will remain in operation
  3. ^ Independent TSO EirGrid Generation Adequacy Report 2007-2013 (PDF) (Report). Eirgrid. 1 November 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 August 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
  4. ^ UK-Ireland energy cable opens to bolster wind power
  5. ^ Eirgrid All Island Interconnection
  6. ^ "East-West Interconnector will move Ireland closer to heart of European electricity sector" (Press release). Commission for Energy Regulation. 29 March 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  7. ^ "EIB to invest up to €300 Million in EirGrid East West Interconnector" (PDF) (Press release). European Investment Bank. 28 September 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  8. ^ "European Commission Grants Imera EU Exemption for East West Interconnectors". Transmission & Distribution World. Penton Media, Inc. 23 November 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2010.

See also

External links

British Energy Efficiency Federation

The British Energy Efficiency Federation (or BEEF) was founded in 1996 by the United Kingdom Government to provide a forum for consultation between existing industry associations in the energy sector.


EirGrid plc is the state-owned electric power transmission operator in Ireland. It is a public limited company registered under the Companies Acts; its shares are held by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. It is one of a number of Irish state-sponsored bodies and is regulated by the Commission for Energy Regulation.

Energy Retail Association

The Energy Retail Association (ERA) was a trade association which promoted the interests of electricity and gas retailers in the domestic market in Great Britain, formed in 2003. In April 2012 it merged with the Association of Electricity Producers and the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy to become Energy UK.

Franco-British Nuclear Forum

The first meeting of the Franco–British Nuclear Forum was held in Paris in November 2007, chaired by the Minister for Energy and the French Industry Minister. The working groups are focusing on specific areas for collaboration. A follow-up meeting on the issue in London was planned for March 2008,[1] but did not take place.[2]

HVDC Moyle

The HVDC Moyle Interconnector is the 500 MW HVDC link between Auchencrosh, South Ayrshire in Scotland and Ballycronan More, County Antrim in Northern Ireland, which went into service in 2001. It is owned and operated by Mutual Energy.

Mutual Energy is a mutual company which manages the Moyle Interconnector (and some high pressure gas transmission assets including the Scotland - Northern Ireland Pipeline) for the benefit of Northern Ireland's energy consumers.

Work was completed in 2016 to replace the subsea sections of the LV return conductors with two new return cables. This was carried out by Nexans (Norway) with the aid of Morrows (N.I) and Romac Civil Engineering (N.I).

Imera (company)

Imera was a subsidiary of Norwegian offshore services company Oceanteam ASA located in Dublin and Amsterdam. The company was created by merger of a privately owned Irish company Imera Power and Hydragrid, a subsidiary of Oceanteam. Oceanteam owned a 70% stake in the company.Imera was the promoter of the East–West Interconnector project across Irish Sea between Ireland and Wales. It also proposed the BelBrit interconnector between the United Kingdom and Belgium.In January 2009, Imera announced plans to build Europagrid, an electricity grid connecting multiple European nations and offshore wind farm projects.In 2009, it was published that the East West Interconnector did not receive EU grant aid to secure financing. Following this, Oceanteam divested its entire shareholding in Imera in December 2009.


An interconnector is a structure which enables energy to flow between networks. The term is used more specifically to refer to international connections between electricity and natural gas networks.

Murco Petroleum

Murco Petroleum Limited is a United Kingdom based oil refining company. It was set up by Murphy Oil Corporation in 1960. The company owns a forecourt based chain of Costcutter convenience stores. In 1981, Murco purchased a 30% stake in Amoco's Milford Haven Refinery, and in 2007, they purchased the remaining 70%.In November 2014, it was announced that Milford Haven Refinery was to close, with the loss of around 350 jobs. In October 2008, they purchased Petrol Express Limited for £52 million from its parent company GNE Group, and the 63 sites brought Murco's total number of petrol stations to 230.

New Electricity Trading Arrangements

New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA) is the system of market trading arrangements under which electricity is traded in the United Kingdom's wholesale electricity market as of 27 March 2001. The arrangements provided that parties could trade off their imbalances close to real time.

Regal Petroleum

Regal Petroleum plc is a petroleum company based in London with assets in Romania, Ukraine, Greece, and Egypt. It was founded by Frank Timiş in November 1996, and is listed on the London Alternative Investment Market.

Sunbury Research Centre

The Sunbury Research Centre -- also known as ICBT Sunbury -- is a main research institute of BP in north-east Surrey.

UK Power Networks

UK Power Networks is a distribution network operator for electricity covering South East England, the East of England and London. It manages three licensed distribution networks (Eastern Power Networks PLC, South Eastern Power Networks PLC and London Power Networks PLC) which together cover an area of 30000 square kilometres and approximately eight million customers.

In 2014 UK Power Networks was awarded £25 million from the electricity regulator Ofgem's Low Carbon Networks Fund for the Low Carbon London project. In 2011 it was awarded £6.7 million by Ofgem for another project, Flexible Plug and Play, which is researching new ways, technical and commercial, to connect renewable energy to the distribution network in Cambridgeshire.

As well as the three distribution arms UK Power Networks also operates UK Power Networks Services Holdings Limited, which develops and maintains electrical networks for clients including London Underground, Heathrow and Stansted airports, Docklands Light Railway and Canary Wharf.


Wales (Welsh: Cymru [ˈkəmri] (listen)) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

Welsh national identity emerged among the Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, and Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century. The whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party. Welsh national feeling grew over the century; Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925 and the Welsh Language Society in 1962. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters.

At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical industries transformed the country from an agricultural society into an industrial nation; the South Wales Coalfield's exploitation caused a rapid expansion of Wales' population. Two-thirds of the population live in South Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and the nearby valleys. Now that the country's traditional extractive and heavy industries have gone or are in decline, Wales' economy depends on the public sector, light and service industries and tourism.

Although Wales closely shares its political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, and a majority of the population in most areas speaks English as a first language, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is officially bilingual. Over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, and the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west. From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the "land of song", in part due to the eisteddfod tradition. At many international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, Wales has its own national teams, though at the Olympic Games, Welsh athletes compete as part of a Great Britain team. Rugby union is seen as a symbol of Welsh identity and an expression of national consciousness.

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