Application filed for unique Northern Ireland-Scotland electricity link

Press Release

A transmission licence application has been made in Northern Ireland for a proposed new electricity interconnector, which aims to connect Northern Ireland and Scotland around the end of the decade. The project will be privately financed and will reduce the likelihood of electricity outages by facilitating greater access to other electricity markets. This also means that emissions of significant levels of harmful greenhouse gasses can be avoided.

Transmisson Investment, one of the UK’s leading independent transmission companies, is spearheading the £700 million initiative to develop, construct and operate the new sub-sea infrastructure between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

LirIC will provide up to 700MW of further capacity between the Irish Integrated Single Energy Market and the GB wholesale electricity market, allowing power from renewable energy sources to be supplied in either direction, displacing the need for power generation from polluting sources.

Keith Morrison, LirIC Project Director, Transmisson Investment said “The application for a Transmission Licence is an early milestone in a long process, but it‘s significant in that it moves us one stage closer towards delivering this very exciting project. 

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those with whom we have had very positive engagement so far, including the relevant government agencies, and the local political parties. 

“Over its lifetime, this project will bring real benefits to Northern Ireland, and Great Britain,” he said.

“LirlC will increase the opportunities for home-grown renewables to export power to other markets, reduce the curtailment of wind generators, lower the wholesale power price in wholesale markets, which on average is forecast to be higher in Northern Ireland, as well as deliver social economic welfare benefits. This interconnector will help balance out the system so that power can be imported or exported according to market requirements. There’s a long way to go in the process, but we are pleased that we have reached this milestone”.

LirIC will comprise two convertor stations, one located in Northern Ireland and another in Scotland, and a cable length of around 130km linking the two, depending on the final route. Potential routes and locations are being studied in detail, and will be selected to minimise disturbance to the environment and local communities. 

Transmission Investment, which is developing a similar scheme between England and France, submitted the application for a transmission licence to the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation on 17 May 2023.

Mr Morrison said the company was committed to supporting the energy transition in Northern Ireland and Great Britain and enabling renewable energy. 

“This project will be able to transmit up to 700MW, which is over 40% of the winter peak demand in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“LirlC will help reduce Northern Ireland’s carbon emissions, and therefore will directly support the delivery of the national emissions reduction target of net zero by 20250. If all goes well, LirIC will be online around the end of the decade. 

Supporting the project, Martin Doherty of the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy stated

“It is vitally important that NI strengthens its interconnectivity with our partners both in GB and Ireland. This development is a key step on the path to providing NI with the clean power to transform our economy over the next decades. The level of investment clearly demonstrates a confidence within the private sector that NI is on the correct course with its ambitious plans for moving away from a reliance on fossil fuels.’