Ireland and France have signed a memorandum of understanding for the next stage of the Celtic Interconnector project.
Ireland’s state-owned grid operator EirGrid and its French counterpart Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE) have agreed to progress the proposed €1 billion (£838 million) project to its first planning stage.
The two-year stage will include economic assessments, technical studies, environmental considerations and pre-consultation. It will also investigate where the subsea cable should lie and where it could connect to the electricity grids of each country.
No decision has yet been made on whether or not the interconnector will be built.
This decision is expected to be made in 2020/2021.
Denis Naughten, Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources, said: “The Celtic Interconnector Project has the potential to provide a reliable high-capacity link between Ireland and France that would have huge benefits for the people of Ireland.
“This project would provide access to the European electricity market, leading to increased competition and lower prices in Ireland. It would also improve security of electricity supply and facilitate increased capacity for renewable energy.”