UK and Netherlands announce major new power link to boost energy security
Plans for a new power line to link both countries and offshore wind turbines in the North Sea, to increase energy security and boost renewable power, have been announced by the Netherlands and the UK.
“This new connection further boosts energy security and energy independence in Europe. Close collaboration on offshore wind energy and interconnection amongst the North Sea countries is imperative,” said Dutch Climate and Energy Minister Rob Jetten.
The power line, dubbed the ‘LionLink’, is the second of its kind and will carry enough electricity to power more homes than Birmingham and Manchester combined, according to the UK government.
Expected to be operational in the early 2030s, it will be four times bigger than the only other interconnector of its kind and carry up to 1.8 gigawatts.
“With the North Sea becoming the largest supplier of green electricity for the Netherlands and large parts of Europe, we are ready to expand the interconnection between the two countries,” said Jetten.
The UK and Dutch energy ministers will announce plans for the link at the North Sea Summit in Belgium today (24 April), which will see representatives from nine countries and EU energy chief Kadri Simson meet to discuss future offshore wind ambitions.
UK energy security secretary Grant Shapps is also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with Denmark to boost collaboration on transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables.
“Together with the strong ties we have with our northern European neighbours united today at the North Sea Summit, we are bolstering our energy security and sending a strong signal to Putin’s Russia that the days of his dominance over global power markets are well and truly over,” said Shapps.
According to the Dutch government, LionLink will support decarbonisation and market integration, strengthen supply security, and form an important step towards an integrated offshore grid in the North Sea.
“It is a first step and a great opportunity to learn as the offshore grid takes shape,” said Manon van Beek, chief executive of TenneT, the Dutch transmission system operator working with UK company National Grid to develop the project.
The UK already has 8.4GW of interconnector capacity, including a power link to Belgium. The LionLink will increase that by up to a fifth.
“Connecting wind farms to multiple markets simultaneously is a game changer for energy infrastructure and brings us one step closer to realising the enormous green energy potential of the North Sea,” said Ben Wilson, president of National Grid Ventures.
“We now need the right political, legal and regulatory framework to make it happen and establish a mutually beneficial North Sea grid to deliver a cleaner, fairer, more secure and more affordable energy future for British and European consumers,” he added.
As well as announcing LionLink, the UK and the Netherlands joined seven other European nations in signing a new Ostend Declaration on Monday, aiming to jointly produce at least 120GW of offshore wind energy by 2030 and at least 300GW by 2050 in the North Sea.
The declaration, which follows a goal of producing 150 gigawatts (GW) of power in the North Sea by 2050 set by Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands last year, doubles the previous ambition and brings five more countries on board.
These are big targets, said Simone Tagliapietra from the economic think-tank Bruegel, noting the EU has 200GW of installed wind capacity, only 15GW of which is offshore.
Kira Taylor, EurActiv.com
This article first appeared on EurActiv.com, an edie content partner
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