Northern Ireland Electricity and Irish Republic power transmission company ESB National Grid have revealed plans to establish a new power interconnector between the two Irish nations.

The new power conduit will be the second to cross the Northern Ireland – Republic of Ireland border, will cost in the region of E180 million to install and should be operational by 2012, the companies say.

The new facility will have the capacity to power in excess of 600,000 homes, making it more than twice the size of the current lone connector.

The Irish energy collaborators contest that the new power artery will increase security of supply and further the cause of market competition.

Regulators in both countries have thrown their full support behind the project, which will be located in the west of the island, however funding details have yet to be fully resolved, RTE has reported.