EU readies cash to help Ireland cut energy dependence on Brexit Britain

Two big Irish energy projects designed to reduce dependence on Britain are set to benefit from EU funding as the bloc steps up efforts to support the country with the most to lose when its bigger neighbour quits the European Union.

Brexit has cast doubt over the security of the gas Ireland imports from Britain, which supplies 60 percent 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 liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal proposed by a private investment vehicle that took over the project from U.S. energy giant Hess.

“Because all of our electricity and gas interconnections are with Britain, it would be irresponsible of us not to explore all other options,” Ireland’s Energy Minister Denis Naughten told Reuters.

“We will be available and will assist,” he said, adding that the projects may seek funding from Ireland’s state strategic investment fund.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), which invested some 800 million euros ($845 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.

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