Seabed interconnector linking Britain and France to allow trade of surplus green power enters testing phase
Britain's latest undersea electricity cable, running 149 miles across the seabed between Portsmouth and Normandy in France, is soon set to begin trading surplus clean power between the two countries, after National Grid today officially announced completion of the £700m project.
The 1,000MW IFA2 interconnector, a joint project between National Grid and France's electricity transmission network RTE, has been completed both on time and on budget, and is now set to enter testing phase before it goes fully live, the firms said.
The high voltage direct current cable is expected to help meet 1.2 per cent of Britain's electricity needs - delivering enough zero carbon power for up to one million homes, while avoiding 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere during its first year of operation, National Grid said.
National Grid views subsea interconnector power cables as crucial to delivering a net zero energy system, as they allow the UK to trade clean electricity with neighbouring countries by exporting power during periods of excess generation, and vice versa. France has an abundance of nuclear power generation, while the UK's growing renewable energy capacity from offshore wind farms in particular is set to enable it to sell increasing amounts of its surplus generation to Europe in the coming years.
IFA2 is National Grid's fourth subsea interconnector cable running between Britain and Europe, and the second linking directly to France. The three existing subsea cables have each year powered the equivalent of five million hones with zero carbon electricity from Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, the firm claims.
The company is also currently building the world's longest subsea interconnector between Scotland and Norway, which is set to become operational next year, while another linking the UK and Denmark is due to come online in 2023.
The new infrastructure means that by 2024 National Grid's interconnectors will be able to power up to eight million homes a year, helping to avoid 100 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030, the equivalent to taking two million fossil fuel cars off the road, it estimates.
"While the world is focused on the pandemic and managing the knock-on effects on our lives, we know that progress towards net zero can't afford to falter and Britain needs to keep up the momentum in reducing harmful carbon emissions," said Jon Butterworth, CEO of National Grid Ventures. "The launch of the IFA2 interconnector, linking France and Britain's power grids, is an important step in accelerating our progress to a cleaner, greener future."
The news came on the same day as National Grid ESO published its Winter Outlook for 2020, revealing that it believes Britain will have enough power and gas to meet demand this winter, even after the Brexit transition period ends.
However, it warned the next few days could see tight margins for electricity capacity, as "unusually low wind power output coinciding with a number of generator outages means the cushion of spare capacity we operate the system with has been reduced".
"We're exploring measures and actions to make sure there is enough generation available to increase our buffer of capacity," it said yesterday.
All the winners and highly commended entries from the 10th annual BusinessGreen Leaders Awards
Vacuum cleaner made from plastic previously found in old cleaners, computers, and hairdryers forms latest part of tech giant's ongoing mission to introduce more recycled materials into its product line
Just a week after Boris Johnson ramped up the UK's offshore wind ambitions, the manager of the seabed has pushed back the timetable for awarding the next round of leases
'The green recovery starts at home': EU accelerates Green Deal with buildings, chemicals, and methane plans
European Commission unveils flurry of major policy plans as it seeks to help deliver on 2050 net zero goal, but green groups warn bolder action is still required