Investors are worried that the economic case for new power cables beneath the North Sea and the English Channel will be undermined if the UK is ejected from the EU’s internal energy market and electricity imports attract trade tariffs. Electricity imported through subsea interconnectors has become an important source of power for the UK, accounting for 6.6 per cent of supplies last year. The proportion is expected to grow as more links are built. A senior figure at one company planning a new interconnector said Brexit had greatly increased the uncertainty surrounding the project and lawyers and consultants working on rival projects said similar concerns existed among other investors.
FT 5th Jan 2017 read more »
Iceland is the answer to our prayers. The country has a surfeit of cheap electricity from volcanoes and melting glaciers that is either sold for a pittance, or goes to waste. The Icelanders would dearly love to sell this power to us at global prices to pay down the banking debts of 2008. Britain would dearly love to buy it from them as our coal plants and ageing nuclear reactors are shut down, with little to replace them beyond the variable winds of the North Sea. Advances in high voltage technology make it possible to transmit Iceland’s low-carbon power to the industrial hubs of northern England by underwater cables with an energy leakage of just 5pc, and probably at lower costs per megawatt hour (MWh) than the nuclear power from Hinkley Point. And unlike nuclear, the electricity is ‘dispatchable’. “We can turn it on and off in fifteen minutes to half an hour. It is the only battery that is really available today for green energy,” said Hordur Arnarson, head of Iceland’s national utility Landsvirkjun. It is hard to imagine a more elegant back-up for the UK’s vast experiment in off-shore wind, the backbone of British electricity by the late 2020s. Combined with interconnectors from Holland and France – and soon Norway – it could plug much of the intermittency gap through the dog days of a windless anticyclone. The power can flow both ways: surges in North Sea wind could be stored in Nordic reservoirs.
Telegraph 5th Jan 2017 read more »