Onshore work has begun on a 190-kilometre undersea and underground high-voltage cable connector between Ireland and Wales. Sumitomo Electric Industries and Siemens Energy are the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors.
Swiss-based private equity firm Partners Group, which owns Greenlink Interconnector on behalf of its investors, has put in place a €500 million (US$548 million) debt financing for the project construction with a consortium of banks, including the European Investment Bank. Linklaters advised Greenlink on the financing and regulatory arrangements in the United Kingdom, while Arthur Cox advised on the Irish aspects.
The 500-megawatt electricity interconnector will connect the power grids of Ireland and Great Britain. Construction will take three years, before commissioning at the end of 2024.
The Greenlink project comprises a 160km subsea high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable system, two converter stations, a tail station at Great Island in Wexford, Ireland, and onshore cable works in Wexford and Pembrokeshire, Wales. The project’s nominal capacity of 500MW can power around 380,000 homes.
The project is the first privately financed interconnector in Europe supported under the cap-and-floor regulatory regimes in the UK and Ireland, which will provide the project with maximum (cap) and minimum (floor) regulated revenue streams, with the floor payments supported by electricity consumers in the UK and Ireland.