The East West Interconnector voted Best Engineering Project of the Year by Irish public

The East West Interconnector voted Best Engineering Project of the Year by Irish public

11 November 2013 at 12:32

Dublin native Kevin Harnett wins Chartered Engineer of the Year award

Monday, November 11, 2013:  The East West Interconnector (EWIC), which links the electricity transmission grids of Ireland and Great Britain, has been voted Engineering Project of the Year by the Irish public in an online vote in the fourth annual Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards, in association with ESB. 

At 264km in length, some 187km of which is beneath the Irish Sea, the EWIC transports energy from a converter station in Co. Meath to North Wales. It is the largest voltage-sourced conversion scheme currently in operation in the world.

Fintan Slye, chief executive of EirGrid Plc, said the interconnector was a key enabler towards meeting the ambitious target set by Government to generate 40% of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020. It is the largest project of its kind to be undertaken in Ireland.

He said, “The completion of the project, from the placing of contracts to commercial operation, took 45 months. It involved 285 contractors and, at its peak, some 30 Irish companies were working on the project. The workforce exceeded 3,700 people, with approximately 2.2 million hours worked. For the marine section, more than 30 vessels were used during the laying of the cable, including cable laying ships, support and guard vessels.

“The construction of the EWIC project provides significant increases in energy security and exerts downward pressure on electricity prices. The benefits to the community are immense and the boost to Irish competitiveness has meant that jobs that could have been lost to other countries have remained at home,” added Mr Slye.

Speaking at the awards ceremony in Dublin’s Four Seasons Hotel, John Power, Engineers Ireland Director General, congratulated EirGrid Plc, the organisation that delivered the project. He said the EWIC was a significant addition to the group of major electrical engineering projects, namely Ardnacrusha, Turlough Hill and Moneypoint, which have underpinned economic rebirth and growth since the foundation of the Irish State.

“The East West Interconnector embodies the best of engineering excellence. The project represented a significant engineering challenge and required the co-ordination of many engineering disciplines to bring the development to a successful conclusion. The interconnector adds a new dimension to the Irish energy sector and will deliver significant long-term economic benefits for electricity consumers. The additional capacity provided by the EWIC has enhanced security of supply on the island of Ireland.”

“Once again this year, all the shortlisted entries highlight the contribution that the engineering sector makes to Ireland,” added Mr Power.

The East West Interconnector came from a final shortlist of projects that also included the An Post Automation Programme; the Bord Gáis Networks Services Centre building; the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Building, NUI Galway; and the Srowland Water Treatment Plant.  The winner was the result of an online public vote to select what they considered to be the project that has most benefited Irish society.

In addition to the Engineering Project of the Year competition, the fourth Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards also included awards for:

  • Chartered Engineer of the Year Award – Kevin Harnett, Chartered Engineer, shortlisted for his contribution to the project Development of a Commercial Scale Tidal Stream Turbine with OpenHydro
  • Engineering Education Award – Best in Class 2013, sponsored by CRH plc – Online Engineering Education, Institute of Sligo
  • Technology of the Year Award, sponsored by the NSAI – Enhanced Wind Turbine, Airsynergy
  • Environmental Infrastructure Award, sponsored by EPA  – Mullingar Water Improvement Scheme, Contractors: Veolia Water Ltd, BAM Civil Ltd, Pierse Contracting Ltd, Consulting engineers: J.B. Barry & Partners Ltd / Byrne Looby Partners, Westmeath County Council
  • Leadership Award, sponsored by Shell E&P Ireland Ltd – John Barry, Chartered Engineer, Programme Director of Irish Water 
  • Outstanding Contribution Award, sponsored by ESB – Dr Jim Browne, Chartered Engineer, President of the National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Volunteer of the Year Award – Peter Tiernan, Chartered Engineer, Thomond Region
  • International Engineer Award, sponsored by ESB – Niall McDermott, Chartered Engineer, Director of the International Group at J.B. Barry and Partners Ltd
  • Best Paper/Presentation Award, sponsored by Griffiths & Armour and Beale and Company – Titanic Belfast – Designing an Icon, presented by Chartered Engineers Dr Michael Shaw, Barry McAllister and Paul McGettigan, RPS Group Belfast
  • Innovative Student of the Year Award, sponsored by Siemens – Patrick Byrnes, Cork Institute of Technology, Innovative Student Engineer – Level 8 and Alastair Chambers, Institute of Technology Carlow, Innovative Student Engineer – Level 7
  • Continuing Professional Development Employer of the Year Award, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland – joint winners Abbott Ireland (Sligo and Cavan) and Dromone Engineering, Co. Meath


For further information contact:

Kelley Cousins

PR and press officer

01 665 1303 / 086 269 5953

Editor’s Note:

Engineers Ireland is one of the largest representative bodies on the island of Ireland, with almost 24,000 engineers.  The membership incorporates all disciplines of the engineering profession in Ireland across industry, the public service, semi-state organisations and academic institutions.