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Planners give green light to £532m Wales-Ireland electricity link

The construction of a £532 million electricity interconnector between Ireland and Wales was this week approved by planning chiefs.

Ireland’s planning agency An Bord Pleanala granted energy firm EirGrid the green light for the 600 million euro (£532m) project to build the 500 megawatt Interconnector.

Swedish engineering firm ABB is expected to start building the major new link next year, with construction to complete in 2012.

The Irish Government had announced its support for the scheme – a feasibility study for which was conducted back in 2001 – in March this year.

The 260 km underwater cable will stretch from Rush, in north County Dublin, to Barkby beach in North Wales. There would also be about 45 km of underground cables buried along public roads from Rush to a converter station in Woodland, County Meath; and a link from Barkby beach to a station at Deeside.

The two-way interconnector would allow the countries to import and export electricity supply as needed.

EirGrid chief executive Dermot Byrne described the announcement as a major milestone after two years of marine surveys, route selections and public consultations.

The European Union is financing about £100m of the scheme.