New cross Channel cable to provide 2GW by 2021

A privately funded project has announced it will build a £1.1bn cross Channel electricity cable which will double the amount of energy the UK presently receives from France. The 150-mile cable is scheduled to come online in 2021.

It plans to deliver up to 2GW, approximately enough to power four million homes, to the National Grid, which has signed a connection agreement with it.

The company, which is backed by private investors, is currently in the process of securing a connection agreement with the French. It will be able to transfer electricity both ways, if market conditions are favourable.

At present the UK mainland has four interconnectors from France, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland supplying 4GW of capacity, Aquind thinks the exemption model will earn it more money because of the lower electricity prices generated by France’s national grid which relies on nuclear energy.

Aquind, the company funding the project, is applying for an exemption from EU and UK regulations governing minimum and maximum prices, revenue and capacity. Six other new interconnectors have been approved and will follow the regulated route under the “cap and floor” regime.

Zoe Double, head of power at ICIS, the independent authority on UK energy market pricing, said its data showed that UK wholesale power prices had become gradually more expensive than their French equivalent in the past five years, which made supplying power to the UK from France more economic.

“The spread between the two markets has widened because while power prices across Europe have fallen, UK prices have not fallen as far as France – partly because there have been concerns about whether the UK can meet demand at peak times in recent years, and this risk has been reflected in a higher price.”