#Energy: East-West Interconnector between Ireland & UK opened but will it reduce prices or make us dependant on #Nuclear Power?


The East-West Interconnector linking the power grids of Ireland and UK has been officially opened yesterday, but will it do what is said and reduce electricity prices?


It will allow electricity to be bought and sold between the two regions with the added benefit of a direct line to London, the UK's largest energy consumer. Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Mr Pat Rabbitte said he is hopeful that the interconnector could lead to cheaper electricity for consumers.

This will only occur if the UK prices are lower than the Irish prices and the cost of transmission (using the interconnector to move electricity from the UK to Ireland and visa versa) is less than the price difference.

What does this mean for you the customer?
Firstly, it means that if electricity prices are lower in the UK they can be sold into the Irish market, which would lead to lower electricity prices. But more worryingly, it also means that if Irish electricity prices are lower, they will be sold into the UK market, meaning prices here will increase. It remains to be seen which is the case, but it should be noted that there is an energy crunch due soon in the UK as older generators shut down and are slowly replaced.

Final food for thought is that Ireland now has a direct link to nuclear generated electricity which will be imported into the grid meaning we are now direct consumers of nuclear energy. As can be seen below there are a number of nuclear plants now directly linked to Dublin and Ireland's electricity supply.