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

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13 September 2012 – 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.

Ends.

Notes to editor

About Energy Bridge

Energy Bridge is a private underground electricity network which will transport electricity from wind farms in Ireland – both on land and at sea – to the UK. It will take the power under the Irish seabed and into the UK and will be entirely independent of Ireland’s existing electricity network. Mainstream has already secured an offer for 5,000MW of grid connection to the UK. Phase 1 of this project will focus on delivering the first 1,200MW from onshore wind farms by 2017. www.energybridge.ie

About REN

REN’s core business is the management of energy transmission and transport systems, operating in the electricity and natural gas fields. It is one of the few European TSO’s  to manage both systems and is responsible for:

· Electricity – transmission in very high voltage and the overall technical management of the national electricity grid, for which REN – Rede Eléctrica, S.A. has held the 50-year public service concession since 2007;

· Natural Gas – high-pressure transport and overall technical management of the national natural gas system, including the reception, storage and regasification of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and underground storage of natural gas. The companies REN Gasodutos, REN Atlântico and REN Armazenagem hold 40-year public service concessions, that started in 2006.

REN also manages, through REN Trading, power purchase agreements not liable for early termination.REN operates in the telecommunications sector since 2002, through RENTELECOM. This company was founded to exploit the surplus capacity of the safety telecommunications networks, which provide essential support to the transmission and transport of electricity and natural gas.

In October 2010, the Portuguese State awarded ENONDAS, a company wholly owned by REN, a concession for the production of wave energy from a pilot area north of San Pedro de Moel. The public concession is for 45 years and it includes authorisation for installation of the public grid connection infrastructure.

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks.  It holds a vital position at the centre of the energy system and we ‘join everything up’. 

In Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.  In the North Eastern US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles.

National Grid in the UK:

· We own the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales, operating it across Great Britain

· We own and operates the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain

· Our gas distribution business delivers gas to 11 million homes and businesses

· We also own a number of related businesses including LNG importation, land remediation and metering

· National Grid manages the National Gas Emergency Service free phone line on behalf of the industry – 0800 111 999 (all calls are recorded and may be monitored).

National Grid in the US:

· National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island

· We manage the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island

· Power Authority (LIPA), and owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation, providing power to over one million LIPA customers

· We are the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

About Mainstream Renewable Power

Mainstream Renewable Power is one of the world’s leading independent developers of renewable energy projects. With a development pipeline of over 15GW globally it has started construction on its first wind farm in Ireland and is about to start building five further wind and solar projects in South Africa, Chile and Canada this year.

As Europe’s leading independent offshore wind developer Mainstream is developing just under 8GW of offshore wind projects in England, Scotland and Germany with 4.45GW of secured grid connection for these offshore projects.

It employs more than 150 experienced staff across four continents with offices in Berlin, Cape Town, Chicago, Dublin, Glasgow, Johannesburg, London, Santiago and Toronto.

www.mainstreamrp.com