Plans to repair the faulty Moyle Interconnector have been unveiled at a public information event in Islandmagee.
The underwater cables, which run between from Ayrshire to Islandmagee and provide a vital electricity link between Northern Ireland and Scotland – are currently operating at half capacity due to an insulation fault.
And, having considered a number of long-term solutions to the problem, the owners of the interconnector – Mutual Energy Limited (MEL) – intend to install two new replacement cables along a similar route to the existing ones.
The Larne Times understands the project has now been put out to tender, and MEL hopes to appoint a contractor by the end of the year.
However, a marine licence is required before work can commence, and MEL has tasked consultancy firm Intertek to carry out a range of studies to determine the potential impact of the project on the marine environment, ecology, commercial fisheries and other areas.
And members of the public were invited to attend Second Islandmagee Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, September 3 to see the plans first hand.
Speaking to the Times before the public meeting, a spokeswoman for MEL told the Times: “This event will focus on the marine elements of the planned repairs to the power cables.
“Members of the public will have an opportunity to view the learn more about our plans for the Moyle Interconnector, and our project team will be on hand to answer any questions people may have.
“We plan to apply for the marine licence in the coming weeks, and this event in Islandmagee will give local people the chance to have their say and to give us their feedback on the project.”
The initial estimate for the cost of the repair work was in the region of £60m, but that figure is thought to be highly speculative.
MEL estimates the work could be completed by 2016/17.