Ofgem has opened up a consultation over plans for a number of new electricity interconnectors. If the proposals go ahead, Ofgem say they will be built by 2020 and will provide an increase of 3.4 GW of electricity.
Ofgem states the new electricity interconnectors would help to create cheaper energy generation thus helping to reduce energy bills for customers in the UK; another benefit would be better energy security for the future, and it would help to boost Britain’s energy supply.
As well as saving the consumer money, interconnectors, which allow electricity to flow between two different countries, can also help to reduce the carbonisation of energy, thus producing greener forms of energy supply.
Commenting on the proposals, Martin Crouch, Ofgem’s senior partner for electricity transmission, said:
“Ofgem is helping to deliver greater interconnection. These three interconnectors would further boost Britain’s energy security and reduce pressure on bills. To date, under our cap and floor regime, we are looking at adding around 5GW to Britain’s energy supply.”
If the plans go ahead, Ofgem says the new interconnectors could offer up to £8 billion worth of benefits to consumers over a 25 year period.
Four projects under consideration
The proposals set out explain two of the interconnectors will connect Britain’s electricity system with France and the third one with Denmark
The FAB project will link Britain and France via the island of Alderney; the project is under development by Transmission Investment and RTE. If it goes ahead, the interconnector will produce 1.4 GW of electricity.
The proposed IFA2 project will also establish a connection between Britain and France, but would only produce one gigawatt of electricity; this project is a collaboration between National Grid Interconnector Holdings and RTE.
Also under consultation is the Viking project, which would mean a 1 GW interconnector transmission link between Denmark and Britain; this would be developed by NGIH and Danish company Energinet.dk.
In addition, a fourth and final project, which is known as Greenlink, is being considered. The 500 MW interconnector would run between Ireland and Britain; this project would be developed by Element Power.
Current Interconnections and Consultation
Currently, there are four interconnectors in place between Great Britain and Europe; they are located in France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland; this produces 4 GW of electricity and accounts for 4% of Britain’s energy supply.
The consultation will remain open until May 2, 2015.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change says its energy auctions have led to 27 renewable energy projects being offered new contracts. The Government says the energy projects will create enough power for nearly 1.5 million homes.
As a result of the auctions, the National Grid predict £315 million a year in new contracts will now be made available to five renewable energy companies. Some of the contracts will be given to companies that specialise in renewable forms of energy such as onshore wind and solar power, which is growing in popularity. However, contracts are also to be offered to offshore technologies.
The auctions were part of the Government’s Contracts for Difference initiative, which has been designed to help reform the energy market in the UK by encouraging investment into greener forms of power generation. Successful bidders will get contracts that will last for 15 years.
As a result of the auctions, there could be two new offshore and 15 new on shore wind farms. It could also lead to the establishment of 5 new solar projects.
The Government says the green energy auctions have helped to dramatically reduce prices for green energy by up to 58% in some cases; the move towards greener forms of power generation will also help to considerably reduce CO2 emissions, thus helping to create a cleaner environment.
In a move to drive down the prices of renewable energy, as part of the auctions, contracts were only offered to the companies that gave the most competitive prices. The Government says this means consumers will get much better value for money.
As well as a 58% reduction in the price of solar energy, offshore wind energy has been made 18% cheaper, while onshore forms of energy are 17% cheaper.
Commenting on the auctions, Ed Davey, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said:
“This world leading auction has delivered contracts for renewables projects right across the UK. These projects could power 1.4 million homes, create thousands of green jobs and give a massive boost to home-grown energy while reducing our reliance on volatile foreign markets”.
“The auction has driven down prices and secured the best possible deal for this new clean, green energy.”
The contracts will be awarded to companies based in England, Scotland and Wales and will include both small businesses and independent generators.