EirGrid has welcomed the decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant approval for the €1bn Celtic Interconnector Project, subject to a number of conditions.
The Celtic Interconnector is a subsea link that will allow the exchange of electricity between Ireland and France.
EirGrid has been working with its French counterpart Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) on the plans for the Interconnector.
In 2019, a funding agreement under the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Energy Programme saw the project receive €530 million in funding.
Last July, EirGrid submitted the planning application to An Bord Pleanála for the Irish on-shore element of the Celtic Interconnector.
This followed a series of technical assessments, consultations and engagement with the local community.
The planning application included a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report and Natura Impact Statement.
An Bord Pleanála assessed the proposal, including the landfall in Youghal, cable route, converter station and network connection and associated technologies.
The board also ran a seven-week period of statutory consultation.
EirGrid chief infrastructure officer Michael Mahon said: “This brings us one step closer to the many benefits this project will bring, including improving the security of electricity supply, helping to achieve our climate objectives and reducing the cost of electricity.
“A lot of people have been involved in this project and we recognise especially the input of communities in East Cork who have provided important feedback and engaged constructively with the project team.
“Our focus now moves to progressing the project to the construction phase, subject to the planning conditions.
“During this phase we will carry out ongoing detailed assessments and continue to engage with and listen to communities and stakeholders.”
A Foreshore Licence has been submitted for the offshore elements of the project in Ireland, and a marine licence is also required from the UK Marine Management Organisation.
Subject to securing these consents, it is expected the project will be built and energised by 2026.