The Norwegian Government has given the go-ahead for the longest sub-sea electricity interconnector in the world – to be built between the UK and Norway.
The NSN interconnector is a 1400-MW power cable that will run between Norway and the UK, meeting landfall at Blyth, in Northumberland. At more than 700 km, it will be the world’s longest subsea cable of this type.
NSN will be developed and owned 50% by Statnett – the Norwegian grid company – and 50% by the British energy company National Grid. Statnett’s investment cost will be up to 8 billion Norwegian kroner.
The interconnector will connect the two countries’ electricity systems providing significant mutual benefits, improving energy security and bringing Norwegian renewable energy to Europe.
When the winds blow in the UK and wind power production is high, Norway will be able to import power from the British to a lower price than in the Norwegian market and conserve the water in Norway’s many hydropower reservoirs.
When there is little wind and a greater need for power in the UK, the situation will be the other way around. The British then can import Norwegian hydropower to a lower price then in the British market and through this secure the power supply. The advantages of this exchange of green energy also include increased security – and predictability – of supply
British Energy Minister Ed Davey said: “This is excellent news for both the UK and Norway. This new cable will allow the UK to import huge amounts of clean, green hydroelectricity – enough to power up to four million homes – to back up our wind and solar power.
“This bolsters our energy security and will help keep consumers’ bills down. It’s a massive win-win for consumers and the climate.”
Subject to progress with the regulatory settlement between Ofgem and the developers (Statnett and National Grid), the project expects to reach final investment decision in spring 2015 and is scheduled to go live in 2020.
Last year, Statnett laid a similar interconnector between Norway and Denmark (pictured below)
NSN is one of five interconnector projects which recently applied to be assessed under OFGEM’s regulatory regime – in addition to the NEMO interconnector to Belgium which piloted the regime and expects to make an investment decision early next year.