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Imera receives healthy interest in its UK-Ireland interconnector - director

30 Jul 2008 00:00:00

Imera Power, the private company responsible for the construction of an interconnector between Ireland and the UK, told ICIS Heren on Wednesday that it has received a high level of interest in its 350 MW project due to come online during the first quarter of 2010.

Commercial director, Grace Samodal, said that of the 50 or so attendees of the bidder’s conference, held at the beginning of the month, “a good percentage” had agreed to sign a non disclosure agreement. Non-attendees, she added, had also expressed interest in obtaining capacity.

Wednesday was the deadline for interested parties to submit their financial qualifications to the company, should they want to secure capacity on the 350 MW link. Imera is now as such, engaged in discussions with many of the British and Irish key players, and is in the middle of an “iterative process,” Samodal told ICIS Heren, regarding the interconnector’s user agreement.

Before the end of the week, Imera plans to release to prospective bidders an independent consultation report analysing the forecasted capacity value of the UK-Ireland interconnector. Then by the end of August, all user agreements will have to be signed, should they wish to proceed with the capacity auction scheduled for September.

Imera plans to sell capacity on its subsea interconnector — which will connect Arklow (in County Wicklow) to Pentir (north Wales) — in long-term contracts that will last up to 25 years. Samodal told ICIS Heren this type of contract was typical for the use of interconnectors and that much of its structure had been based upon the legal framework of the UK-France interconnector and the Moyle interconnector (between Northern Ireland and Scotland). She added many counterparties prefer long-term agreements, allowing them to be more strategic in their trading.

Imera is also planning an interconnector between the UK and Belgium, named BelBrit. The open season for this project is due to begin in September of this year, Samodal said. The British regulator, Ofgem, has already granted Imera the necessary license for the development, although Belgian regulator CREG appeared to know little about the project, when contacted by ICIS Heren on Wednesday.

Samodal however, said the company was not worried, as it had good relations with the necessary department at the Belgian regulatory office.

When asked about the developments of the seabed survey for BelBrit — which Oceanteam is due to conduct this summer — Somadal declined to comment. She added however, that the project had already received a healthy amount of interest as the power markets in the UK and Belgium are more developed than the Irish market. TMM

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