The go ahead has been given to lay a power cable between France and the Republic of Ireland to bypass the UK electricity grid after Brexit.

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The go ahead has been given to lay a power cable between France and the Republic of Ireland to bypass the UK electricity grid after Brexit.

Now the first point to note is that I am definitely not talking as a power generation and distribution expert. I'm just relaying some Information and a few thoughts.

The political go-ahead was given yesterday to lay a 500 km, 700MW Direct Current submarine cable between Brittany and the Republic of Ireland.

This it is said, would allow the EU to provide the Republic with up to 6.1 TWh of electricity per annum, once the UK leaves the single market and customs union.

The cable will also carry fibre optic connections.

According to the Independent it is planned to be completed by 2026 at a cost of about €930 million.

The costs will be shared between the two countries with Ireland picking up 65% of the tab.

"However," says the Independent, "because the infrastructure has been declared a Common Interest Project by the European Commission, it is eligible for EU financial support, with an application for a grant covering up to 60 per cent of its costs expected."

Having not looked at it in great detail this 'Celtic Interconnector', as its called, could supply about 25% of the Republic's electricity needs.

As, in 2014 for example, the Republic consumed 24 TWh of electricity and this new cable could, as I said earlier, bring in a tad over 6 TWh per annum.

That's without having to consider DC to AC conversion losses, if there are any.

Just for info, there is already a cable between the UK and the Republic called the East West Interconnector that has a 500 MW capacity.

Now, according to the 2018 Energy in Ireland report by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the Republic has been a net exporter of electricity in 2016 and 2017.

So one assumes that it is the fossil fuels imported from the UK and elsewhere outside the EU that generates the electricity in Ireland that is the real risk factor as far as Brussels and Dublin are concerned. And they do have to maintain their fortress Europe, don't they. However, according to that energy report, 90% of all energy use in the Republic, from electricity to transport, derives from fossil fuels.

So, from that I get the feeling that Brussels wants the Republic to generate far less electricity from fossil fuels and supply any electricity shortfall to them via the cable.

Sounds like a great way to get a nation state under your control doesn't it?

But the big point here is that this Celtic Interconnector is not a brand new post Brexit project.

No, it has been on the cards for a few years and I believe the feasibility study only came to an end in July 2016. It is now part of the energy union and 'European Super Grid' programme and is reported to have been fast-tracked due to Brexit.

The aim of the EU super grid is to reduce costs of energy, while pooling load variability and power station unreliability, as well as reducing the margin of inefficient spinning reserve and standby that have to be supplied and allow for wider use of renewable energy.

However, the big drawback for me is that each EU nation state that relies on this super grid automatically loses its own national energy security – unless they are a constant net energy supplier to the super grid and not a net user, of course.

So for me it is the sort of project that can only be pursued within the borders of a single sovereign nation – which is of course what the EU is hell-bent on becoming.

And as the UK is now leaving the EU superpower project it is only right that we maintain our own energy policy and the capacity to generate sufficient energy for home consumption plus reserves to ensure our own energy security. Something the National Grid already does for us.

But as a non expert I can't quite grasp how spinning reserves etc can be reduced via a supranational super grid. Because if a large country needs say a 2 or 5% spinning reserve, wouldn't that be just about the same for a large geographical super power?

This whole energy union and super grid thing sounds more like a way for a few energy companies to find friendly host countries and get to supply the bulk of electricity for the whole EU.

One interesting point regarding the Celtic Interconnector is that the Republic of Ireland has a law against using nuclear fission to generate electricity on its own soil. But it seems it is perfectly happy to use nuclear power stations elsewhere in the EU to supply its Irish citizens with electricity.

As I said at the start, I am no expert, but I just throw this out there for comment.

Sources:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ireland-france-electricity-cable-supply-uk-brexit-single-market-a8933116.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_Interconnector

https://www.seai.ie/resources/publications/Energy-in-Ireland-2018.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Ireland

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_super_grid

https://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2017/11/eu-fast-tracks-1-1bn-ireland-france-power-link-ahead-of-brexit.html

https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-strategy-and-energy-union

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