A new interconnector between Ireland and Wales is a step closer to reality, after Ofgem granted a licence to MaresConnect to own and operate an electricity interconnector project in the UK.
MaresConnect is a proposed 750MW electricity interconnector linking the power markets of Ireland and Great Britain. The cable route is approximately 245km underground and under the sea between Dublin in Ireland and Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire in Wales.
As part of Europe’s 2022 Ten Year Network Development Plan (“TYNDP”), MaresConnect is considered one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects that will form part of a system that is secure, sustainable and affordable, and that integrates Ireland’s abundant renewable energy resources, thereby offering an essential contribution to the European Green Deal.
As part of the UK government’s energy policy to secure 18GW of electricity interconnector capacity by 20304, Ofgem will invite new interconnector projects to apply for Cap & Floor regulation in a third window over the summer. Earlier this month, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications launched a consultation on Ireland’s electricity interconnector policy to address Ireland’s increased climate and energy ambitions.
Simon Ludlam, CEO of MaresConnect, noted, “Securing an interconnector licence is an important step for us to position the project for its application for Ofgem’s third Cap & Floor window and to advance our route planning strategy and engagement with community stakeholders. MaresConnect will increase interconnector capacity between Ireland and GB by 50% and make a material contribution to Ireland achieving its 2030 environmental targets as well as providing a cost-efficient export route for Ireland’s growing offshore wind sector.”
MaresConnect secured a 750MW grid connection at National Grid’s Bodelwyddan substation in 2018 and procurement for the major onshore survey contracts is currently underway. Following the current development, the project is expected to have a three-year construction programme leading to operations in 2027.
MaresConnect is being developed by Foresight Group’s energy transition fund, Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners, and Etchea Energy.