Brexit Britain to build £2.4bn energy cable with EU as UK now major exporter to bloc

Xlinks: Dave Lewis outlines plan for undersea power cable

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced that it will back a new interconnector cable between Germany and the UK with €400million (£342million) in funding. The EIB has teamed up with investors like the UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) and Allianz to build the NeuConnect project, which is a €2.8billion (£2.4billion) undersea interconnector cable to transfer electricity between the UK and Germany.

The project will begin operating in 2028 and is set to be the first such interconnector between the two countries.

The 1.4GW cable will be 725 kilometres long, joining the German grid in Tennet’s electricity network near Fedderwarden to the UK’s National Grid at the Isle of Grain in Kent.

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said: “This project is ground-breaking for the energy transition, as it makes it possible to use offshore wind energy more efficiently.

“Cross-border electricity trade can help redirect power to where it is most needed and can thus contribute to the integration of renewables and the stability of the energy supply.”

This comes as British households are reeling from the worst impacts of the global fossil fuel energy crisis, as analysts warn that the price cap is set to reach around £3,200 per year by this October.

Although the UK gets little of its gas directly from Russia, it has not been immune to shocks in the market, sending the price of gas soaring over the last several months.

Ofgem has warned that as a result of the upcoming price cap increase, millions of families will be thrown into fuel poverty.

Over the past few months, the UK has come to the rescue of several EU nations, including France by exporting record amounts of electricity, despite facing an energy crisis of its own.

According to data from the National Grid, since the start of April, Britain has been a major exporter of electricity to Europe, powering countries including France, Belgium and the Netherlands through similar subsea cables.

This is a major change in dynamics, as the UK has generally been a net importer of electricity from Europe, particularly during times when renewable energy generation is low.

Joe Camish, the lead analyst at the consultancy Cornwall Insight noted that energy woes in France have pushed power prices in the country to record highs “which has led to the regular occurrence of [Great Britain] to France exports”.

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Energy consultancy EnAppSys has estimated that the UK could continue to export energy supplies to mainland Europe even in the coldest months of the year, despite the fact that Britain usually relies on countries like France and Norway during such months.

Earlier this month, Fintan Slye, head of National Grid ESO said that the UK would likely continue to help make up for shortfalls in French nuclear output this year.

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