New electricity cables across the Channel to France and Belgium will be a key part of keeping Britain’s lights on during winter in the early 2020s, after their owners won backup power subsidies in a government auction this week. For the first time, interconnector operators successfully bid for a slice of hundreds of millions’ worth of contracts in the capacity market. That will help cut costs for consumers and squeeze out old coal power plants. Three new interconnectors are currently being built to Europe, almost doubling existing capacity, with one along the Channel Tunnel and two on the seabed: one between Kent and Zeebrugge and one from Hampshire to Normandy. The interconnectors were success stories in this week’s capacity auction, which saw power firms bid to provide backup electricity in the winter of 2021/22. Prices for the four-year contracts hit a record low of £8.40 per kilowatt per year, which analysts described as a shock and well below expectations.
Guardian 9th Feb 2018 read more »