A NEW electricity cable is to be laid between Wales and Ireland as part of a scheme to ‘share’ electricity, writes Laura Clements.

The new cable will be laid under the sea and will extend 100 miles between Pembroke and Great Island in County Wexford.

In a deal between Ofgem, the UK National Grid, and Element Power Ireland Ltd, the ‘Greenlink’ cable will be the first of its kind in south Wales. It will have a capacity of 500MW, equivalent to powering 380,000 homes.

A spokesman for Element Power Ireland said the €400m (£350m) scheme is designed to improve energy security in both Ireland and Wales, and pass on consumer savings through a more efficient system.

The Greenlink project want to undertake surveys of the seabed this summer to decide where to lay the cable.

Drop-down cameras and sonar will be used to determine the best route and identify any unexploded ordnance off the coast at Castlemartin.

They expect to submit a detailed planning application in March 2019, with construction beginning in 2020/21.

The 100-mile length of cable will have to be ordered and specially made. It is expected to emerge from the sea at Freshwater West beach, where it will then run underground for around five miles to connect with an existing substation at Pembroke Power Station.

Greenlink plan to use agricultural land as much as possible, and have already held discussions with residents and landowners likely to be affected.

Simon Ludlam, Greenlink Interconnector Project Director, said: “We believe that a proactive and constructive dialogue with stakeholders will result in the best possible proposal coming forward and we will be commencing a full and thorough public consultation to discuss the full project in the near future.”

Local businesses such as B&Bs are expected to benefit from the project during the construction phase.

A consultation event will be held in May with details to follow. 

As well as being privately financed by Elememt Power Ireland Ltd, the scheme will benefit from European funding as a designated ‘European Union Project of Common Interest’ under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

After Brexit, the UK and EU (including Ireland) will continue to trade electricity without tariffs.