Ireland’s government has said that it plans to make use of a €50 billion ($69 billion) EU plan to encourage private investment in European infrastructure to overhaul its electricity system.

The government said the country would benefit from the development of a “northern seas” offshore electricity grid, north-south electricity interconnections in south-western Europe, and north-south gas interconnections in western Europe. It also sees scope to benefit from the deployment of smart grids to enable improved transmission of renewable energy generated off Ireland’s coasts.

Pat Rabbitte, Ireland’s energy minister, said: “Energy interconnections across Europe, including cross-border electricity interconnections and reverse-flow gas pipelines, will lead to a fully integrated internal energy market, which will benefit all consumers through improved security of energy supply and increased competition.”