Government eyes 9GW of new interconnectors

The government has said it supports a 9GW increase in the UK’s interconnector capacity, as it published its full response to the Smart Power report released by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) at the beginning of March.

The report said “more connections to cheap, green power supplies, such as Norway and Iceland, could bring great benefits to the UK” and called on the government to “redouble its efforts to open new connections”.

There are currently four interconnectors between the UK and the rest of Europe, providing around 4GW of capacity.

Having previously backed a 5GW increase in interconnector capacity, the government has now said 9GW would be “beneficial to consumers” given the evidence put forward by both the NIC and Ofgem.  It added that it may even back further additional capacity “as more potential projects are assessed later this year”.  

Last month Ofgem launched a consultation into three new potential interconnectors: the 1.4GW FAB link running between Exeter and Menuel in France; the 1GW IFA 2 going between Chilling in Hampshire and Tourbe, also in France; and the 1GW Viking Link connecting Revsing in Denmark and Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire.

The government said it recognised “constraints in the supply chain for cable manufacture” but argued they presented an opportunity for businesses in the UK. Earlier this week Balfour Beatty warned that a limited supply of cables was a major barrier to further interconnection in Europe.  

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