Britain’s National Grid has confirmed the first electricity power link (since 2012) has been completed this week. This new interconnector links Britain and Belgium and is due to start operation in the first quarter of 2019. The project is a joint collaboration between National Grid and Belgian transmission system operator Elia.
The “Nemo“ interconnector cost £600 million and spans 80 miles along the seabed from Herdersbrug on the Belgian coast, to Richborough in Kent. The link has been built to enable access to enough energy to power one million homes and is expected to help bring a more flexible energy system for consumers in both countries. The Nemo interconnector will hook up the electricity systems of the UK and Belgium via two subsea and underground high voltage direct current cables.
Britain’s business and energy secretary Greg Clark said in a statement issued by National Grid: “Nemo Link is the UK’s first interconnector since 2012, increasing our electricity capacity from these power cables by a quarter and further enhancing security of supply for us and Belgium.”
The UK already has electricity interconnectors with other countries which bring in around 6 percent of its electricity (France, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Ireland). However, National Grid said it was infusing more than 2 billion pounds in new interconnectors with Europe, with plans underway to construct a 1,400 MW link between Britain and Denmark, a second link with France and another link with Norway. This new generation of interconnectors will extend the UK’s ties to mainland Europe, just as leaving the European Union is on the horizon.
The UK government has cautioned operators of electrical power links with Europe that they will need to set up different trading agreements if the country leaves the EU next year with no exit deal.
WindEurope also stated, “Brexit looms large in the background. The rules governing trade of electricity between the two countries may change next year. To safeguard against potential disruption, the project partners are running a public consultation on a contingency plan in case the UK leaves the Internal Energy Market.”