European Commission has awarded a €4m grant to a project to build an interconnector linking the French and Irish electricity systems.
The Celtic Interconnector will enable an increase in the trading of energy between EU countries, while it will also bolster Ireland's security of energy supply and enable the integration of more renewables into the European energy system.
RTE France and EirGrid are the project promoters.
The promoters and the EU's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) signed the grant agreement in Brussels in the presence of representatives of the French and Irish governments, and the European Commission.
Once built, the Celtic Interconnector will comprise around 600km of cables on the seabed between France and Ireland, and it will transmit up to 700MW of electricity, which is the equivalent of supplying power to around 450,000 homes.
The project will also provide a direct fibre-optic communications link between Ireland and France.
The interconnector will enable surplus renewable energy generated in sunny or windy weather to be transmitted to locations that have a huge requirement for electricity.
A Feasibility Study and Initial Design and Pre-Consultation for the project have already been carried out with the support of the EU's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
The new funding, which is also provided by CEF, will finance a study that will cover the project's detailed design, public consultation, and preparation for its construction.
The project is eligible for CEF funding as a Project of Common Interest (PCI).