UK currently has four Electricity interconnectors (links) to neighbouring counties, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland. These links provides 4000 MW (only 5% of total generation capacity) of import capacity to the UK. Three more links, from UK to France, Belgium and Ireland are presently under development stage.
Growing interconnectors between UK and its neighbours will not only bring energy security, but also promote flexibility of cross borders trading of electricity and lower the bills to consumers. In a short term, UK will have more options to buy cheaper Electricity from Europe. In a long term, if power hungry industry (e.g. steel manufacturing) moves away, UK generators will have more options to sell Electricity to Europe via these interconnectors by capacity auction mechanism. Such flexibility across western Europe will provide future proofing to investors in UK’s Nuclear and renewable sectors. Benefits of growing interconnectors are much more than one can imagine. Connecting offshore wind parks to UK’s mainland adds substantial cost to existing network reinforcement and capacity payments to STOR (Short Term Operating Reserves) operators. Integrating offshore wind capacity through cross border interconnectors would help to bring spot Electricity prices down whist progressing towards renewable capacity expansion to meet 2020 targets.
Cutting a long story short – Making of European Electricity grid will bring energy security, enhance confidence to investors, support the growth of renewables for de carbonizing of economy and provides future flexibility against economic uncertainty in the region.