Irish Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES)

The Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES) is a major initiative designed to enable the development of interconnected grid networks to enhance the integration of marine renewable energy between Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RPS acted as the lead consultant and contracted party on a study examining the feasibility of the project.

The ISLES project was awarded the 2010 European Structural Funds Best Practice Award for ‘Best partnership working in the use of European Structural Funds’.

Key details

Project name

  • Irish Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES)


  • Government of Ireland, Government of Scotland, Northern Ireland Executive


  • Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland

Services provided

  • Project management
  • High Voltage engineering
  • Electricity transmission marine selection
  • Multi-jurisdiction consenting and permitting
  • Electricity market and cost benefit analysis
  • Stakeholder consultation


The 18-month INTERREG IVA funded study examined the potential to connect wind, wave and tidal energy sites located across a large geographical area. Funded by the EU Commission, the project was supported by governments in Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A multidisciplinary team led by RPS reported continually to a steering group drawn from the governments.

RPS as lead consultant were tasked with completing a feasibility study that covered:

  • Technology & Infrastructure
  • Environment & Planning
  • Construction & Deployment
  • Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Regulation


The project has involved targeted consultation with industry and selected statutory stakeholders including inter alia TSOs and Regulators across three jurisdictions and ENTSO-E, technology developers, project developers, high voltage cable suppliers and experts in the deployment of subsea cable. An analysis of the status of HVDC/HVAC cable technologies and relevant supply-chain issues has also been performed.

The study developed pathways for the delivery of the trans-boundary grid and examines aspects such as environmental and engineering constraints, planning and permitting requirements, constructability and deployment, technology and infrastructure, market and regulatory challenges and finance issues.

The study outlined the need for a second project phase to resolve a number of outstanding issues, including operation of energy markets and the promotion of innovation and investment, to facilitate major coordinated development.

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