Mainstream Renewable Power has been awarded funding of €1.4 million by the European Commission to cover half the costs of conducting a survey of the seabed in the Irish Sea to investigate the best route for the cable which will transport electricity from wind farms in Ireland to the UK’s National Grid. The survey is planned to be carried out in 2014 and 2015 in line with Mainstream’s plans to export 1,200 megawatts of electricity from 2018.
The funding has been awarded by the European Commission because Mainstream’s Energy Bridge has qualified as a “Project of Common Interest” (PCI). The Commission has adopted a list of 248 key energy infrastructure projects which receive the PCI status. For a project to be included in the PCI list, it has to have significant benefits for at least two Member States; contribute to market integration and further competition; enhance security of supply, and reduce CO2 emissions.
Commenting on the awarding of the funding, Mainstream’s Chief Executive Eddie O’Connor said: “We are delighted that Mainstream’s Energy Bridge has been deemed a Project of Common Interest and received this funding to conduct the seabed survey. Carrying out the seabed survey is another major milestone towards exporting power in 2018 and establishing an exciting new industry in Ireland as well as an innovative source of green power for the UK.”
Phase 1 of Mainstream’s Energy Bridge aims to export 1,200 megawatts of wind power from the Irish Midlands to the UK. The project has:
- Secured a grid connection with National Grid.
- Signed agreements with over 500 private landowners allowing Mainstream to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment on their land and to host a wind farm subject to receiving planning permission.
- Mainstream is aiming to submit a planning application in 2015 and is using the intervening time to engage with residents, community groups, businesses and local stakeholders.