Gaslink and Gas Networks Ireland welcome the Commission for Energy Regulation’s (CER) decision to approve construction of a new 50km natural gas pipeline in Scotland. This major €93.8m infrastructure project will greatly enhance Ireland’s energy security. The project is substantially assisted by EU grant aid of €33.7m from its Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), announced in November 2014.
This approval from the CER is a strong endorsement of the long expressed views of Gaslink and Gas Networks Ireland that this pipeline is essential to safeguarding Ireland’s energy security and future economic growth. The case advanced by Gaslink and Gas Networks Ireland in an open competition for funding across the EU resulted in the project being identified as a Project of Common Interest (PCI) under EU Legislation and subsequently being one of only six projects from the list of 248 PCIs to be awarded construction funds in the first round of CEF funding.
Significantly, this project is the only western European gas project to receive funding under the initial round of EU funding and demonstrates the commitment of the European Commission to safeguarding the energy security of member states. The project involves the construction of a 50km high-pressure steel pipeline between Cluden and Brighouse Bay in Scotland and will be the final step in completing the full twinning of the two gas interconnectors between Ireland and the UK. Twinning of this on-shore section, which feeds the 2 subsea pipelines, which have been in place since 1993 and 2004 respectively, will secure this vital link to the UK gas market. The pipeline will also boost the operational flexibility of the Irish gas network which is essential to providing backup to intermittent renewable electricity generation. Natural gas, as the cleanest and most flexible fossil fuel for power generation, is an ideal partner to renewables as Ireland seeks to meet its energy and climate change targets.
Commenting on the announcement, Aidan O’Sullivan, General Manager of Gaslink said:
“We are delighted at the CER’s endorsement of the EU Commission’s decision to provide substantial financial assistance to the completion of the interconnector system which links Ireland and the UK and plays a critically important role in the Irish economy. Natural gas, as the cleanest fossil fuel, continues to deliver for Ireland, offering a clean, reliable and competitive fuel to power our economy. Gas allows Ireland the security to achieve our environmental goals while ensuring that Irish businesses can continue to compete. Developing this new connection will greatly enhance the security of our gas supply and help us to extend the supply of natural gas to more homes and businesses across the country.”