UK INTERCONNECTOR CAPACITY EXPECTED TO DOUBLE IN YEARS TO FOLLOW

February 18, 2020
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Sustainability has been a hot topic over the past year that shows no signs of disappearing from our conversations. In order to achieve the UK government’s target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the current technology needs to be replaced by new and improved alternatives. Interconnectors will play a vital role in the journey to achieving net-zero emissions.

What Are Interconnectors?

Interconnectors are a physical link that allow electricity to flow between borders. The UK currently holds an interconnector capacity of 4GW, which is provided by the IFA, BritNed (£500m), Moyle (£150m) and East West (£685m) projects. IFA, completed in 1986, was the first interconnector linking Kent (UK) to Calais (France). Interconnectors improve an electrical system’s efficiency by providing an external route for excess electricity, allowing for a reduction in carbonisation by utilising renewable energies and increasing the security of the national energy supply. Most importantly, interconnectors will decrease the price of electricity for the consumer. National Grid estimates that each additional GW of interconnector capacity will reduce the UK wholesale price by 1-2%, saving us a forecasted £1bn per year.

New Projects on the Horizon

The UK has approximately 12GW of pipeline, either proposed or under construction, which will be completed by 2025. The North Sea Link (NSL) project, the world’s longest subsea interconnector that will link Blyth (UK) to Kvilldal (Norway), is currently in the construction phase. As interconnector technology improves in both distance and electrical capacity, the UK’s capacity is expected to double by the early 2020s. National Grid has invested roughly £2.82bn into future interconnector projects, including NSL, which will extend to 730km. This increase of interconnector projects is likely to create new jobs within the sector.

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By Elise Reid

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