Mainstream signs MoU with National Grid and REN for Ireland-UK transmission system

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed to complete a pre-feasibility study for the development, financing, construction and operation of a 5,000MW electricity transmission system which will export large-scale renewable energy generated from wind, from Ireland to the UK starting from 2017.

The companies involved are National Grid, which owns and manages energy networks in the UK and US; REN (Redes Energéticas Nacionais) Portugal’s Transmission and System Operator Concessionaire working in association with the State Grid Company of China (the largest electricity transmission company in the world), as well as global wind and solar developer Mainstream Renewable Power which is leading the export project.

The companies bring unrivalled global capability in terms of the future developing, financing, constructing, owning and operating of large-scale international electricity transmission assets.

· National Grid is an international electricity and gas company. In Britain it runs systems that deliver gas and electricity across the entire country, and connects more than seven million customers in the north eastern US to the energy they use. It also owns a number of related businesses including interconnectors, LNG importation and metering.

· REN is Portugal’s, mostly privately owned, Transmission and System Operator, managing both electricity and natural gas networks. It was incorporated in 2001 and currently owns and operates assets worth over €4.4 billion.

· Mainstream Renewable Power is one of the world’s leading independent developers of renewable energy projects. It has a development pipeline of over 15GW globally including just under 8GW of offshore development assets in the North Sea and 4.45GW of secured grid connection for these offshore projects.

Mainstream Renewable Power launched Energy Bridge in June of this year and has already secured an offer for 5,000MW of grid connection to the UK. The company is currently engaging with landowners in the midlands of Ireland to secure the land required to start constructing the first 1,200MW phase of the project with the aim of supplying this 1.2GW of energy to the UK by 2017.

Commenting on the MoU, Mainstream’s Chief Executive Eddie O’Connor said: “This is a major milestone in our plan to start delivering renewable energy to the UK from 2017. I am delighted to be working with such recognised world leaders in electricity transmission systems.  We are now putting a team of experts together in order to conduct comprehensive feasibility studies and a business plan. This will be the precursor to the companies forming a joint venture to develop, build, finance, own and operate the system. This has never been done anywhere in the world and Mainstream is very excited to be leading such a ground breaking project.”

Quote from Steve Holliday, Chief Executive of National Grid: “We are looking forward to working with our partners on this strategic project. With our core skills in developing, owning and operating energy networks and our knowledge of new technologies – including interconnector projects – we are always looking at opportunities like this that can really use our expertise. This has the makings of a really exciting project that can connect consumers and businesses to lots of renewable energy.”

Quote from Rui Cartaxo, Chief Executive of REN:

REN believes this MOU sets the ground for the study of a potentially groundbreaking infrastructure for the future of European energy highways. We are happy to associate with leading players such as National Grid and Mainstream and believe that our experience will bring a relevant added value to the project and that our company will also benefit from the know-how of such highly qualified partners.

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