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Rural Electrification

Providing Public Service electricity infrastructure to Ireland's offshore islands demonstrates the commitment of Government, ESB and the E.U. to improving the quality of life of the islands communities.

Cape Clear and the three Aran Islands were connected to the National Electricity Network in 1997. The investment cost was IR£5 million which was 50% funded by the European Union under the Economic Infrastructure Operational Programme.

The provision of a mainland electricity supply will be a major boost to the socio-economic development of these islands and will be of enormous benefit to the 1,500 people who live on them.

Up to now the islands had to be content with electricity produced by stand alone diesel generators which limited considerably their potential for development. The provision of a mainland supply has changed all this and indeed it is the intention, again with the aid of E.U. funding, to provide similar supplies to Clare Island and Inishbofin by the end of 1998.

The projects themselves presented a major engineering challenge in the sense that the projects had to be successfully completed against a background of a rough and fickle Atlantic Ocean.

The work involved laying 40 KM of submarine cable links using a specialised cable-laying ship - the Dutch HAM 602 as well as the provision of new network infrastructure on the mainland and on the islands. The latest satellite technology was used to guide the ship in selecting the best route for the cable across the sea bottom. Two separate cable suppliers were contracted to provide the heavy duty armoured submarine cable used. ESB personnel designed and supervised the construction of the projects and were wholeheartedly supported by the Department of Public Enterprise personnel and ably assisted by the local communities.

The project has been called bringing the silence back to the islands as the noisy diesel generators are being switched off on these beautiful islands.

Implementing Authority: ESB

This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund

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