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EU ready to help Ireland reduce energy dependence on Britain

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Reuters are reporting that two big Irish energy projects designed to reduce dependence on Britain are set to benefit from EU funding.

Britain’s departure from the EU has cast doubt over the security of the gas Ireland imports from Britain, which supplies 60% of its needs. As an EU member, Ireland is not allowed to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement.

The Irish government has thrown its weight behind two new energy import projects: EirGrid and RTE's Ireland-France electricity link, and a LNG import terminal proposed by a private investment vehicle that took over the project from US energy giant Hess.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), which invested some €800 million in Ireland last year, said it would be interested in lending money to support the Ireland-France electricity link, also known as the Celtic Interconnector.

The EIB has previously provided loans to European LNG import projects.

The two Irish energy import projects are each expected to cost around €1 billion each to build so securing additional funding sources would provide a huge boost.

The Shannon LNG project will be able to pump a maximum of 28.3 million m3 of gas per day into the Irish grid, equivalent to more than twice Ireland's annual gas demand. It will be the closest European port of call for a glut of US LNG exports set to start flowing in coming years.

The developer is also proposing to build Ireland's first gas storage tanks and a 500-megawatt power plant at the site.

But plans for the LNG terminal, shortlisted for EU funding, have lain idle in recent years because global LNG oversupply and Irish regulations on costs for connecting the facility to the network have hampered the project's economics.

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