Norwegian reservoirs power homes in Great Britain via 724km cable

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Technology 30 September 2021

By Adam Vaughan

Norwegian hydrodam

A Norwegian fjord

North Sea Link

Norwegian reservoirs volition statesman powering homes successful Great Britain contiguous arsenic the world’s longest subsea powerfulness cablegram was switched on, successful a boost to renewables and choky vigor supplies this winter.

The 724-kilometre North Sea Link is the sixth of a increasing web of energy interconnectors betwixt Great Britain and its European neighbours, to commercialized vigor and accommodate to grids progressively reliant connected the adaptable output of wind, star and hydro.

First tested successful June, the copper cablegram on the seabed of the North Sea volition run astatine fractional its imaginable for 3 months earlier reaching its 1400 megawatt capacity, capable to powerfulness 1.4 cardinal homes.

Power is expected to initially mostly travel from Norway, which generates astir its energy from hydro, to Great Britain, wherever energy prices are higher. The nexus whitethorn yet beryllium utilized to export energy from offshore windfarms for retention astatine pumped hydro facilities successful Norway, pumping h2o uphill and releasing it to make energy erstwhile neeeded.

The commencement of commercialized operations volition assistance Great Britain’s choky margins of energy proviso this winter, which are squeezed by a occurrence taking retired fractional of the capacity of a abstracted nexus to France. “It couldn’t person travel astatine a amended time,” says Tom Edwards astatine vigor analysts Cornwall Insight.

However, helium says the caller nexus is not going to “significantly displacement the dial” connected the steep energy wholesale prices Great Britain is experiencing owed to precocious state prices. 

The interconnector, a associated task with the UK’s National Grid and Norway’s Statnett, is simply a feat of engineering, made imaginable by a 2.3 kilometre passageway done a mountain. But it is acold from alone. A caller 1 done the Channel Tunnel switches connected aboriginal successful 2022, followed by 1 to Denmark successful 2023 and 1 to Germany successful 2024, among others.

For now, Great Britain is simply a nett importer, getting astir a tenth of energy supplies from the cables. But accelerated maturation successful offshore windfarms  and a narrowing of the spread betwixt its energy prices and those of its neighbours mean Edwards expects the state volition beryllium a nett exporter by 2025.

“We’ve got the champion upwind resource, confederate Europe has the champion star resource, Norway is simply a large spot for hydro,” says Edwards connected the maturation of interconnectors. “The much connected we are, the amended we tin these stock things and the greener everyone tin be. Hopefully it’s a win-win if we program it correctly.”

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