Britain is importing a tenth of its electricity needs for the first time on record after the start of a new subsea power link with Belgium. The Nemo link, which runs from Richborough in Kent to Zeebrugge and which started operating at the end of January, has increased the capacity of Britain’s electricity connections with mainland Europe by a third. Imports hit record highs in February and March as traders used the new interconnector as well as existing links with France and the Netherlands to buy cheap electricity from the Continent, analysis by Imperial College London for Drax’s Electric Insights report found. The Nemo link spans 80 miles and was built by National Grid, the FTSE 100 utility group that manages Britain’s electricity networks, along with its Belgian counterpart, Elia. It is named after Captain Nemo from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne and is capable of transmitting 1 gigawatt (GW) of electricity in either direction. Britain has two other interconnectors to mainland Europe: the 2GW Interconnexion France-Angleterre, built in 1986, and the 1GW BritNed link to the Netherlands, which started in 2011. There are also two 500 megawatt links to Ireland: the EWIC connection between Wales and Ireland and the Moyle interconnector from Scotland to Northern Ireland. The government and Ofgem, the energy regulator, have backed plans by National Grid and others to build a series of new links to other countries to bolster interconnection. A link to Norway and a second link to France are under construction, while National Grid has said that it will press ahead with building a new link to Denmark. Such connections are regarded as increasingly important as Britain shifts to more intermittent renewable electricity sources such as wind and solar farms. The cables can be used to export surplus electricity when supplies are plentiful and import when they are scarce.
Times 15th May 2019 read more »
Britain’s power and gas networks would be nationalised under a Labour government and replaced with a complex system of national, regional and municipal energy agencies. Streets, villages and housing estates could be handed responsibility for operating and maintaining the electricity cables and meters that supply their homes, a leaked document showed. The plans, expected to be announced within days, suggest that shareholders in companies that own the networks would be unlikely to be paid the market value for their assets, estimated to be worth £64 billion. The document says that the compensation would be decided by parliament, which could make deductions for factors such as “the state of repair of assets and state subsidies given to the energy companies”. Labour’s 2017 manifesto vowed to return networks to public ownership but the leaked plan sets out how it would do so for the first time. The party promises to compensate shareholders with bonds, which would make the proposal “cost neutral to the public purse”.
Times 15th May 2019 read more »
Under [Labour’s] plans the energy companies will fall under the control of a newly formed public body, the National Energy Agency. The quango will control the energy system while operating the high voltage wires. It will also oversee a matrix of so-called “regional energy agencies” that will advance Labour’s plans to tackle climate change. The agencies will be tasked with sourcing low carbon or renewable sources for 60pc of all energy use by 2030. They will also oversee the rollout of electric vehicle charging networks and new energy storage projects across the country. A spokesman for National Grid warned that the state-ownership plans “would only serve to delay” the huge investments needed to help the UK take a lead in the green economy. “At a time when there is increased urgency to meet the challenges of climate change, the last thing that is needed is the enormous distraction, cost and complexity contained in these plans,” the spokesman said.
Telegraph 14th May 2019 read more »
FT 14th May 2019 read more »