Photo: Courtesy: Celtic Interconnector

EirGrid picks converter station site for Celtic Interconnector

Irish TSO EirGrid has selected a site at Ballyadam near Carrigtwohill in East Cork on which to build a converter station for the Celtic Interconnector.

The converter station is one of the key components in the €1-billion electricity project.

EirGrid picked the site from a shortlist of three following a range of technical studies and consultation with local communities in East Cork.

In addition to the site at Ballyadam, EirGrid consulted on two sites near Knockraha as potential locations for the converter station, an industrial-type building with electrical equipment that converts direct current electricity to alternating current and vice versa.

The consultation process resulted in a preference for Ballyadam as the most appropriate location for the new station given the existing and anticipated industrial and commercial activity in the area.

The site is 10 kilometres by road from the Knockraha electricity substation, a strong node on the national electricity transmission network and the final connection point for the interconnector.

The Ballyadam site sits on property owned by the IDA between Carrigtwohill and Midleton.

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Mark Foley, EirGrid chief executive, stated:

“We received more than 1,000 responses to our most recent public consultation. There was support for further studies and assessment at Ballyadam, with many respondents supporting it as the most appropriate location for the converter station, given the industrial and commercial activity in the area.”

Over the past number of months, EirGrid carried out focused site assessments at Ballyadam. Coupled with earlier studies and site investigations in the area, the company identified a feasible location within the site for the converter station.

Foley added: “Taking into consideration the constraints particular to each site and a range of criteria – technical, environmental, economic, social and deliverability -Ballyadam has been identified as the best performing option for the converter station site. It will be brought forward as the best-performing converter station site to the next stage of the project, the planning process.”

The Celtic Interconnector is a planned subsea link that will allow the exchange of electricity between Ireland and France.

EirGrid has been working with its French equivalent Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTÉ) to find the best way to develop the interconnector to benefit electricity customers and markets in Ireland, France and the EU.

The Celtic Interconnector gets significant co-financing from the EU. Specifically, European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility awarded €530.7 million towards the design and delivery of the project.

The interconnector power cables reach landfall in Ireland at Claycastle Beach in Youghal. From there they will travel underground to the converter station at Ballyadam and then on to the substation at Knockraha, also by way of underground cables.