The UK and Norway are to team up to build the world’s longest interconnector – under the sea. This will link electricity and gas networks to provide enough low energy carbon for up to 750,000 homes in Britain. The 450 mile long interconnector will run from the UK - Blyth in Northumberland to Norway - Kvilldal in Rogaland.
National Grid - an English distribution network operator and Statnett - a Norwegian transmission system operator are signing the ownership agreement at the British Embassy in Oslo. The cost will be around £1.5bn and the project is to be completed by 2021. Alan Foster, director of European business development for National Grid said: “Access to low carbon energy from Norway hydropower station will help us meet the challenge of greener, affordable energy. It also adds to the diversity of energy sources for UK and potentially can reduce peak prices with benefits for consumers and businesses”
The NSN interconnector is a 140-MW power cable to be developed and owned equally between National Grid and Statnett. The NSN cable can improve energy security and stability in bringing Norwegian renewable energy to the UK.
Benefits can be seen on either side – when the winds blow in the UK the power production will be high, meaning Norway will be able to import power from the UK at a lower price than from their own energy market. They will also be able to conserve water from Norway’s multiple hydropower reservoirs.
Then when the wind isn’t as strong and we need power in the UK the situation effectively flips the other way. Britain will import Norwegian hydropower at a lower price than the UK energy market and through this process secure a strong power supply.
Both sides will be able to rely on this green energy exchange which provides increased security and predictability of supply. Ofgem, Britain’s energy regulator estimate that the project will bring cheaper electricity to the UK and save consumers £140million per year - which adds up to a staggering £3.5bn over 25 years.
Energy Secretary Ed Dave said: “Britain will benefit from Norwegian green hydropower, at the flick of a switch, providing green backup power when the wind isn't blowing, this will actually save people money. Coming after the recent confirmation of the Nemo interconnector project with Belgium, I am proud we are now seeing a huge increase in Britain’s energy options, and the prospect of a real single energy market and energy super grid in Europe”
The interconnector is the first electricity link to Norway, but the country already has connections which supply Norwegian gas and oil to the UK – including the Langeled pipeline which runs 725 miles to Nyhamna in Norway from Easington in Yorkshire, UK.
The UK has electricity interconnectors with multiple countries in Europe but more needs to be added to meet demands of energy. Analysts have stated that unless we acquire more interconnectors we could still be vulnerable to blackouts due to energy shocks.
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