The UK’s National Grid and Portuguese grid operator REN are jointly working to develop a 5,000 MW electricity transportation system, called the Energy Bridge, designed to export wind power from Ireland to the UK within the next five years.
Energy and Capital reported that Dublin-based renewables company Mainstream Renewable Power is also in on the project, and a deal was signed among grid operators yesterday.
The first 1.2 GW of power is scheduled to be installed by 2017. REN is owned in part (25 per cent) by the Chinese utility firm State Grid Corp, the world’s single-largest electricity transportation company, which has connected over 50 GW of wind power capacity in China.
It is projected that Ireland will produce much more wind power than it consumes, which means it can readily export to Britain. That country has set a target of generating 15 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.
Mainstream’s vision for the overall project involves a huge onshore wind development program across the Irish Midlands. The power produced will then be exported via the Energy Bridge project and sold directly on the UK market.
Although Mainstream has kept the possibility of collaboration with other developers on Energy Bridge open, it has also stated that it can manage on its own. In a recent fundraising round, the company raised 17m euros, or $22m, from high net worth individuals interested in investing in the Energy Bridge project.
China, meanwhile, has already shown its clear interest in investing in Britain’s ambitious renewables project. Two Chinese firms have teamed up to participate in the UK’s 6 GW Horizon project.