By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Hot on the heels of the announcement that the longest sub-sea electricity interconnector in the world is to be built between the UK and Norway, Ofgem has now announced a further five new interconnector projects which will link the UK grid to France, Denmark, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland.
Together with the ElecLink and Nemo projects that Ofgem has already assessed, these seven projects could lead to investment of up to £6 billion and provide up to 7.5GW of additional electricity capacity in the UK.
Interconnectors are international transmission cables that allow electricity to flow from one country to another. They can offer significant benefits for consumers.
ElecLink is the proposed 1GW electricity interconnector to France, being developed by Star Capital and Eurotunnel Group.
Nemo is the proposed 1GW electricity interconnector to Belgium, being developed by National Grid Nemo Link Ltd and Elia, the Belgian system operator.
The proposed new interconnectors, if approved, would connect the National Grid to electricity networks in France, Ireland, Norway and Denmark – and would improve the security of energy supply. They are:
|Project name||Developer||Connection date||Connection locations|
|FAB||FAB Link and RTE||1 December 2020||Exeter (GB) and France|
|Greenlink||Element Power||TBC||Pembroke (GB) and the Republic of Ireland|
|IFA2||National Grid  (NGIH) and RTE||31 October 2019||Chilling (GB) and France|
|NSN||National Grid and Statnett||1 October 2019||Blyth (GB) and Norway|
|Viking Link||National Grid and Energienet.dk||31 October 2020||Bicker Fen (GB) and Denmark|
1 RTE (Réseau de Transport d’Électricité) is the French transmission system operator (TSO).
2 Date of connection to be confirmed by summer 2015.
3 NGIH is a subsidiary company of National Grid Plc, established solely for the development of electricity interconnectors.
4 Statnett is the Norwegian TSO.
5 Energienet.dk is the Danish TSO.
Ofgem has decided that all five of the projects submitted meet the minimum eligibility criteria. The applications follow Ofgem’s decision to extend the cap and floor regime to electricity interconnectors that can connect to the network by 2020.
Ofgem will now assess how the projects interact, whether they are likely to be in the interests of GB consumers, and if they will deliver value for money. If successful, work on the first projects could start as early as 2016.
Martin Crouch, Ofgem’s senior partner for transmission, said: “These five new projects, if approved and then built, could provide real benefits to consumers.
“They can help to lower electricity supply prices, lower the cost of delivering security of supply and support the decarbonisation of energy supplies.”