28 September 2009 – The European Investment Bank is to loan Irish transmission system operator EirGrid EUR300m ($441m) for the Ireland-Wales electricity link and EUR200m is being made available to the ESB to help Ireland secure and green its electricity supplies.
Ireland currently meets 95 per cent of its energy needs through imported fossil fuels. Dublin has an ambitious strategy to meet 40 per cent of electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020.
The European Investment Bank, the bank of the European Union (EU), raises substantial funds on the capital markets which it lends on favourable terms to projects furthering EU policy objectives.
Electricity Interconnection between member states in part of the European Energy policy and the planned East-West Interconnector between Ireland and Wales is of strategic importance to Europe in helping to create a single European electricity market.
EirGrid Chief Executive, Dermot Byrne said: “When completed, the interconnector will help ensure secure electricity supplies for consumers, it will promote competition and will enable power to be efficiently transferred between Ireland and Britain, providing Irish wind producers with access to export markets.”
Byrne said:”We have concluded a number of key phases of this project, with the granting of planning permissions in Ireland and Wales, the completion of sea surveys, and the appointment of contractors to build the interconnector.
“And now this large scale funding from the EIB, at the most favourable borrowing terms available in the market, is another major ingredient to delivering this crucial infrastructure on target for 2012.”