London, 13 June 2016 – A £1.1billion undersea and underground electricity cable is to be built between the UK and France, boosting supply and improving energy security.
The newest piece of the UK’s energy infrastructure, called an interconnector, will link Hampshire to the French coast close to Le Havre and deliver enough energy to power an estimated four million homes.
British developer Aquind Limited, previously a subsidiary of a Tyneside-based company Offshore Group Newcastle, is behind the project, which will come online in 2021 and deliver up to 2GW of additional capacity to the UK power grid.
By introducing electricity from France, it is hoped the interconnector could contribute to lower energy prices in the UK and reduce Britain’s per capita carbon footprint.
Aquind say the safe, tried-and-tested technology will provide a valuable source of energy at a time of significant strain on the system, with coal-fired power stations being closed and planned new gas and nuclear generation not yet being built.
Speaking on behalf of Aquind, Lord Callanan – a non-executive director at the company – said: “Energy security is at the heart of Britain’s economic development and quality of life. We urgently need additional energy capacity if we are to keep the lights on across the country and the interconnector has a vital role to play in achieving that.
“The Aquind interconnector offers a cost-effective and timely solution to the UK’s energy challenges. We expect it to be operational in 2021, offering extra energy capacity quickly while the alternatives, such as new nuclear power plants, can take more than 10 years to come online.
“The benefits to consumers are clear: greater security of electricity supply and potentially even lower energy bills in the long run thanks to increased competition.
“The interconnector is also a fantastic example of Britain’s private sector taking the initiative and being part of the solution – investing in the country’s future and creating a platform for growth.”
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 cable will run from Lovedean, near Portsmouth to the Le Havre area in northern France – underground, undersea and entirely out of sight.
The project offers additional peace of mind to UK consumers at a critical time as Britain faces a looming energy crisis.
Lord Callanan said: “With a growing energy supply gap threatening UK households and businesses, there’s an urgent need for a fast and reliable way to introduce new capacity. The interconnector will significantly ease the pressure on the UK grid and reduce the risk of blackouts.”