Irish and French researchers come together to discuss shared energy opportunities of Celtic Interconnector

French researchers and policy makers came together with University College Cork (UCC) researchers to discuss the opportunities that the planned Celtic Interconnector project will bring.

Due to be completed in 2026, the Celtic Interconnector is a 700 MW high-voltage direct current submarine power cable under construction between the southern coast of Ireland and the north-west coast of France. Ireland’s EirGrid is working with its French equivalent, Réseau de Transport d’Electricité to deliver the 700-megawatt submarine cable which will include enough capacity to power 450,000 homes and will create a direct electricity link from Ireland to the European Union.

Now at the Irish Embassy in Paris on April 10 researchers from University College Cork in MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine have convened a workshop to examine shared opportunities the project could bring for Irish and French communities.

This initiative seeks to inspire and build new knowledge in partnership with researchers in Cork, Brittany and Paris. Despite the critical importance of delivering a more flexible and resilient energy transmission grid infrastructure across Europe, debates and research addressing this issue have focused mainly on understanding the technical and economic implications of Interconnectors. This space has many unexplored dimensions, including low public awareness of interconnector projects.  This workshop also provides an opportunity to strengthen common Celtic heritage, to discuss present-day Irish French connections, and examine the evolution of energy systems in Brittany and Cork, the regions hosting the landfall points of the Celtic Interconnector.

Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir Assoc. VP of Sustainability at University College Cork said: “We have very strong and deep cultural, economic and political interconnections between Ireland and Brittany over many years. We are now adding a new electricity interconnector that will lead to new connections between people and places. With this workshop, MaREI hopes to explore local and national standpoints, think across borders and invite interdisciplinary collaboration to consider the opportunities and the challenges for the Celtic Interconnector”.

Those in attendance include Owen Feeney, Deputy Ambassador, Embassy of Ireland, Paris; Brian Ó Gallachóir , Assoc. VP of Sustainability, University College Cork and Director of MaREI; Sinead Dooley, Head of Public Engagement, EirGrid; and a number of French and Irish academics from various disciplines.

Commenting on the significance of the workshop, Sinead Dooley expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity for greater EU collaboration. 

This workshop represents a unique forum for the public engagement function within electricity grid operators and academics to share insights, lessons learned, and innovative approaches to addressing the evolving challenges in our energy systems and the emerging energy citizen. Coming together we can collectively work towards building more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive electricity grids and communities.