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Ireland-Britain 500MW electricity cable finally starts operating

21 Dec 2012 18:28:34 | edem

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The East West interconnector linking Britain and Ireland has finally started to operate after its start-up date was delayed, the electricity cable's operator, EirGrid, said on Friday.

EirGrid data show that the 500MW subsea cable was operating at about half its nameplate capacity at 09:45 London time on Friday and continued to do so into the afternoon. The cable was supposed to begin commercial operation from the start of October (see EDEM 11 October 2012).

The latter stages of testing by ABB, the company that designed and installed the cable, identified some technical issues before its handover to EirGrid. The cable was causing noise interference on telephones in the homes of residents living in the area where the cable beaches in Ireland.

EirGrid said the cable has been operating in interim mode since 1 December and that its commercial trading began on Friday.

The operator returned all unused fees to capacity holders affected by the delay in starting commercial operation.

Capacity flowing from Britain to Ireland has generally attracted more interest than flows in the opposite direction, given the price difference between Ireland's all-island single electricity market and the British market. The most recent session of Ireland's over-the-counter market, in November, saw the trade-weighted average for December '12 register more than a 10% premium to its UK power market equivalent (see EDEM 15 November 2012).

Capacity flowing from Ireland to Britain has often been sold for nothing and sometimes has failed to attract any interest. FOR

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