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Irish regulator considers new regulatory approach on interconnection: a welcome boost for investor..

21 March 2018.

Greenlink Limited, the developer of the 170km electricity interconnector project between Ireland and the UK known as ‘Greenlink’ [1], has welcomed today’s announcement from the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) [2] confirming the commencement of its detailed assessment of the project, including consideration of a new type of regulatory support that will reduce risk for consumers. This is the first time the so-called Cap and Floor regime, already operated by the UK regulator, has been considered in Ireland [3].

Mike O’Neill, CEO, commented;

“With this announcement, the regulator has signaled that it is open to considering an innovative type of regulatory regime to support interconnection in Ireland, one that will provide better protection for electricity consumers and a clear roadmap for further private investment in our Greenlink interconnector project. This is an important step forward for us, potentially providing consistency with the UK regulator’s approach and building on the historical exchange of electricity with the UK.”

The statement from the CRU sets out the roadmap for how and when it will consider and make a decision on our application for a Cap and Floor regime that underwrites revenue but limits consumer exposure. The information paper from the CRU also sets out public participation in the process with details of the consultation that will allow stakeholders to review and comment on the project.

The CRU states its intention to give an Initial Project Assessment (“IPA”) decision in respect of Greenlink by September 2018 if the project is likely to be in the public interest, which then leads to a Final Project Assessment (“FPA”) decision during 2019. The IPA will confirm the regulatory arrangements that will support the project.

Mike O’Neill continued;

“Coming just three weeks after the announcement by the Government of a consultation on interconnection policy, it shows real momentum building in Ireland to move forward with much needed interconnection and maximize the benefits to consumers and the Irish economy. “Greenlink provides such benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea. It will stimulate private investment in infrastructure and contribute to Ireland’s low carbon ambitions under Project Ireland 2040, launched in February. The project will lower costs to electricity consumers at the same time as enhancing Ireland’s energy security through access to UK and connected EU and Nordic electricity markets.”

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