Interconnectors are not just a “short-term fix”, and will be vital in enabling a faster transition to the smart energy system of the future.
National Grid Ventures’ global transmission director Jon Butterworth said that, by linking national energy systems, interconnectors help to “smooth hourly variations in production from wind and solar farms”.
“For example, Norwegian hydro or Danish wind power can fill the gap when the sun isn’t shining and there is little or no wind in the UK,” he said.
In a column for Utility Week, Butterworth pointed out that although critics have suggested interconnectors are a short-term fix, they are “instrumental” in delivering secure and affordable electricity to consumers, while facilitating the development of a cleaner and more flexible energy system for future generations.
He referenced the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) recommendations from last year, which included an increase in interconnection to manage the more frequent fluctuations inherent to tomorrow’s greener energy system. The NIC estimates interconnectors, together with storage and demand-side response, could save consumers up to £8 billion per year by 2030.
Butterworth said whilE no one knows what direction Brexit negotiations will take in the coming months, he is “confident” policymakers on both sides will want to resist applying rules which restrict the free flow of energy, thereby preventing consumers in Britain and mainland Europe from having access to cheaper, cleaner and more secure energy.
“Interconnectors only need a level playing field to compete in the market,” he said. “This means preventing the imposition of tariffs or double-charging.”
He added: “I firmly believe that interconnectors are a win-win as part of the mix, because they unlock our ability to benefit from the unique characteristics of neighbouring markets, while enabling a faster transition to the smarter and more sustainable energy system of tomorrow.”