Improved Grid Will Facilitate Economic Recovery

The upgraded national grid which is being put in place will provide a platform for Irish economic recovery and inward investment, according to EirGrid. During 2011, EirGrid completed approximately 80 km of new circuits as part of its Grid25 strategy and over 300 km of existing circuits were upgraded. A further 160 km of new circuits are at an advanced construction stage and are expected to be completed in 2012.

Implementation of the Grid25 programme is expected to create major benefits for all regions of Ireland. In addition, this coming September will see the completion of the East West Interconnector, which will electrically connect Ireland to the UK and beyond into Europe and will enable Ireland to participate in those electricity markets.

Dermot Byrne, chief executive of EirGrid, comments: “Business and job creation will benefit in a number of ways as we know that competition drives down prices, and that is attractive to new and existing investors. The first auction for capacity on the East West Interconnector will take place this summer, and this will enable Ireland to develop a new and indigenous sector – the energy export market. We have plenty of potential to develop our renewable energy resources here.”

He adds: “EirGrid recently announced a Eur500 million investment in a new electricity link between Munster and Leinster, and this, alongside other current or planned projects, will enable Ireland to have a 21st century grid, modern enough and flexible enough to cater for the requirements of future generations.”

The East West Interconnector project continues to progress on time for delivery in September 2012. This will bring an additional capacity of 500 MW (megawatts) of power to be traded in both directions. Benefits will include increased competitiveness, enhanced security of supply and the facilitation of renewable energy.

In the financial year ended 30th September 2011, EirGrid increased revenue to Eur470.7 million, from €443.8 million the previous year, and operating profit rose to €30.3 million, compared to €15.7 million in 2010. This increase in statutory profit largely reflects actual outturns in costs and revenues different to the assumptions made in setting EirGrid’s regulated tariffs, giving rise in this instance to an over-recovery. In accordance with normal regulatory practice, this will be corrected in future tariffs.

Renewable energy currently accounts for about 17% of total customer demand across the island or Ireland. The target in both jurisdictions is to reach 40% by 2020.

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