Updated: New £1.1bn interconnector to be built to France

A new 2GW interconnector between the UK and France, expected to come online in 2021, has been announced today by developer Aquind.

Costing £1.1 billion, the project will be entirely funded by private investment without any government subsidies. 

It is expected to create up to 500 jobs across the supply chain during the construction phase and will run from Le Havre to Lovedean near Portsmouth – supplying up to 16TWh of electricity each year.

Non-executive director of Aquind Lord Callanan said: “With a growing energy supply gap threatening UK households and businesses, there’s an urgent need for a fast and reliable way to introduce new capacity.

“The interconnector will significantly ease the pressure on the UK grid and reduce the risk of blackouts.”

The UK currently has a total of 4GW of interconnector capacity: a 2GW link to France operated by National Grid and RTE; a 1GW link to the Netherlands; and two 500MW links to the Republic of Ireland.

In addition to the interconnector being announced today another three links to France, with a total capacity of 3.4GW, are also being planned, as well as 1GW links to Denmark, Belgium and Norway and another 500MW link to Ireland.

In April the government said it supported a 9GW increase in the UK’s interconnector capacity in its full response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s Smart Power report released at the beginning of March. Construction firm Balfour Beatty has warned that a shortage of cable supplies could hold back plans for increased interconnection.

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