An Bord Pleanála has given EirGrid permission to build a new electricity interconnector between Ireland and Wales.

EirGrid, which operates the national electricity grid, says the 500 megawatt link will enable two-way transmission of electricity from 2012, and will also allow Ireland to export renewable power.

The link will be around 250km long and will reach the Irish coast at Rush, Co Dublin. An Bord Pleanála has given permission for a converter station to be built at Woodland, Co Meath.

Construction on the €600m project will start next year, providing 100 jobs. Building work is being carried out by Swedish company ABB.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan welcomed the decision, describing the interconnector as 'vital infrastructure'. He said the connection would enhance the security of our energy supply and will mean we can import electricity when required from the UK market.