The governments of Ireland and France have commenced construction work on the Celtic Interconnector, a high-voltage subsea power cable that will link the grids of Ireland and France.

Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, and French Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher have officially started the works.

Irish transmission system operator (TSO) EirGrid and its French counterpart, Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) are developing the interconnection project.

The project is expected to deliver a 700MW submarine cable with connection points between the southern coast of Ireland and the northwest coast of France.

It will carry adequate capacity to power 450,000 homes and will create a direct electricity link from Ireland to the European Union (EU).

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2026, with grid integration expected in 2027.

Minister Ryan said: “I warmly welcome Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher, along with her French colleagues to Dublin today, as we continue to strengthen our relationship with our nearest EU neighbour.

“The commencement of construction on the Celtic Interconnector project marks an important part of our wider energy ambitions.

“Increased electricity interconnection will be a key enabler in our growing use of renewable energy and will also help lower energy prices and play a central role in Ireland’s journey to a net zero power system.”

The Celtic Interconnector is a part of Europe’s Offshore Network Development Plan, which outlines the development of an integrated energy system for European energy markets.

The European Commission (EC) is offering €530.7m from its Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help complete the design and delivery of the project.

In addition to the start of construction, Ireland and France signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on Energy Transition Cooperation.

The declaration provides a framework for the mutual willingness of both countries to advance the decarbonisation of energy systems to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

It builds upon the existing Ireland-France Joint Plan of Action 2021-2025, which has been adopted by both countries in August 2021.

Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher said: “The joint declaration on energy I will sign with my Irish colleague Eamon Ryan will deepen the working relations between our two ministries.

“I will also be thrilled to inaugurate the Celtic Interconnector, which will increase the security of supply both for Ireland and France and contribute to the decarbonisation of our electricity mixes.

“This visit will enable us to prepare our future work together: this involves in particular our preparation of COP28, but also our joint co-chairing of the International Energy Agency ministerial in February 2024.”