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Brexit Consequence? France and Ireland Cut Out 'Middleman' UK on Energy Project

© Photo : PixabayLightbulb, electricity
Lightbulb, electricity - Sputnik International
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The European Commission has allocated US$4.5 million to link the French and Irish electricity grids via an undersea cable. Irish lawmakers have said that the plan is an "obvious solution" to Ireland's energy reliance on a post-Brexit UK.

The Celtic Interconnector project is a planned 600-km-long undersea electricity cable with a capacity of 700 MW, which will link the southern coast of Ireland with the northwest tip of France.

This project will mean that enough electricity will be provided to power 450,000 homes and surplus renewable energy will be able to go where there is high demand, on particularly windy sunny days. 

Derry, Northern Ireland - Sputnik International
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A feasibility study was conducted in July 2016, and both France and Ireland agreed to proceed with the project and the Commission's decision on June 28 to award the US$4.5 million helped to finance the project's finer details. 

​The project is eligible for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding instrument as a Project of Common Interest (PCI), because it is considered essential to completing the EU's internal energy market.

It will also help boost Ireland's broadband connectivity as the cable will include a fiber optic link.

When finished, it will be Ireland's only interconnector link to an EU member state, given that the UK intends to leave the bloc in early 2019.

The Senate of Ireland's Brexit committee called for greater urgency in fast tracking the interconnector project, with its chairman, Neale Richmond, insisting Ireland "can no longer rely on the UK for energy supply, the Celtic Interconnector would provide greater security" after Brexit.

Denis Naughten, Ireland's Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said that it is important that Ireland have direct connections into the European Union.

"It would be irresponsible of us not to explore all other options," Mr. Naughten said.

​Power transmission operators RTE France and EirGrid also hope that the project will boost Ireland's energy security, as well as reducing costs and promoting renewable energy.

EirGrid Chief Executive Fintan Slye said that this is a a crucial project and key milestone.

"This is a substantial step forward for the project and we strongly welcome the significant financial support from the European Commission for the Celtic interconnector," Mr. Slye said in a recent interview.

​Sources have said that cutting the UK out as a middleman will alleviate any uncertainty.

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