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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

28/10/09: €100 million funding awarded to Ireland's electricity interconnector project

East-West interconnector is vital to Ireland’s energy needs and boost for the economy –
Minister Eamon Ryan Dublin 28 January, 2009

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan has warmly welcomed the decision by the European Commission today to award €100 million in funding to Ireland's electricity interconnector project, which will link Ireland and the UK by 2012. The Commission's decision to select the Irish project for significant fast-tracked funding is part of a suite of energy projects being targeted for investment because of their strategic importance to Europe.

The package was announced today as part of a €5 billion economic stimulus package "Investing today for tomorrow's Europe". Minister Ryan has worked intensively in Brussels over the last six weeks to ensure that the Commission's support for the interconnector project was secured. He has also ensured that Ireland is included, along with the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark as part of the €150 million project to develop the offshore grid in the Northern Seas Zone. Commenting on the announcement, Minister Ryan said, "I am very pleased that our efforts have led to this European investment in Ireland. The East-West interconnector is vital infrastructure for our country and will bring many benefits. Connection to the UK will enhance the security of our energy supply. It will mean we can import electricity when required from the UK market. More importantly, it will mean we can export our electricity to the UK. When the wind is blowing in Ireland, we can sell this power to our neighbours. Interconnection will also increase competition in the electricity sector, which will benefit consumers in the long-run, placing downward pressure on prices. This project will allow us to accelerate our development of renewable energy. We are rich in renewable power; we need to develop this to secure our energy supplies. This project will also help the development of the green economy, bringing investment and jobs to Ireland in the growing renewable power industry. This investment from Europe is a significant boost to the Irish economy. It brings us one step closer to energy independence."
Minister Ryan said that the outcome was also a vital recognition of the all-island benefits which the East West Interconnector will bring for consumers North and South. "The All-island Single Electricity Market has been a flagship European project in terms of creating a single energy market across Europe. Commissioner Piebalgs has taken a direct interest in its progress. The success to date of the Single Electricity Market is now further underpinned by the support for the Interconnector project with the UK." for more info

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