London, 14 September 2016: A project to build a £1.1billion undersea and underground electricity cable linking Hampshire with Normandy in France moved a step closer today with the announcement of an award by Ofgem of a licence to operate. The regulator has granted an interconnector operating licence to the developers behind the infrastructure project, Aquind Limited.
The Aquind interconnector is due for completion in 2021 and will deliver up to 2GW of additional capacity to the UK power grid. The company says the safe, tried-and-tested technology will provide a valuable contribution to the security of Britain’s energy supply in the coming years.
Lord Callanan, a non-executive director at Aquind, said: “The UK needs affordable, reliable new capacity. Interconnectors offer just that and we are looking forward to progressing to the next phase of development.
“Furthermore our interconnector will be online quickly – in five to six years – while the alternatives being discussed, such as new nuclear generation, can take more than ten years. Our capacity is being stretched and we do not have the luxury of time.”
It is also hoped that by introducing electricity from France, the Aquind interconnector could contribute to lower energy prices in the UK and reduce Britain’s per capita carbon footprint.
Minister of State for Energy, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “We are building an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century and interconnection will play an important part in this.
“This is a positive step forward for the Aquind interconnector. Interconnectors can help to keep bills down and guarantee our energy security. We look forward to Aquind, and other new projects, coming forward and demonstrating how they can benefit consumers.”
The cable will run underground and undersea from Lovedean, near Portsmouth to the area north of Rouen in Normandy. The project is entirely funded by private investment without any government subsidies, and is expected to create up to 500 jobs across the supply chain during the construction phase.
The licence to operate granted by Ofgem is one of the key stages of approval required before an interconnector project can come on stream.