Developers of high voltage electricity interconnectors linking the UK to its neighbours and the wider power grid across Europe will be able to bid for contracts under the UK’s capacity market arrangements.
This should help to provide backup power supply at times of peak demand. DECC has said that from 2015 it will be allowing interconnectors to compete in the market for contracts, which they hope will drive costs down for consumers through greater competition.
There are currently interconnector projects worth around £5bn of private investment in the pipeline until 2020, according to DECC. The National Grid also says 52.4GW of de-rated capacity has pre-qualified for the first auction due in December, with a further 10GW qualifying on condition of proving further project information; just under 9GW of the capacity is for new build generation.
The European Commission recently announced €40 million funding towards the longest subsea cable in the world, which will link the UK to Norwegian hydropower, and two interconnectors to France. One will use the Channel Tunnel, while the other has the potential to connect to future tidal generation being developed off the coast of Alderney, in the Channel Islands. Together these three projects will almost double the power the UK is able to receive via interconnectors, with further projects also in the pipeline.
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