French Energy Supplies

The UK is set to double French energy supplies in five years thanks to the help of a brand new cable. The project will be privately funded by investors of the company and be built by Aquind, which is runĀ  by Ukrainian businessman Alexander Temerko.

The installation of the cable will double the amount of energy that the UK is receiving presently from France. The 1.1 bn electricity cable is called an interconnector. The 150 mile long cable will be built from Lovedean and run near Portsmouth to Le Havre area. The project is estimated by Aquind to come online in 2021, just five short years.

As a result of a connection agreement with National Grid, Aquind also has plans to deliver up to as many as two gigawatts to the National Grid. The power is sorely needed, and the energy that the new cable will provide to Britain makes it fairly valuable. The cable will be able to supply power to what would be the equivalent of four million homes.

Aquind is currently in the process of securing a connection agreement with France that will allow them to transfer electricity both ways, permitting favorable market conditions. The National Gride and RTE, the French counterpart, already share a 2 GW interconnector between England and France. The cable has been steadily in use since 1986.

Aquind is stating that the cable they provide would give the country valuable energy. They also pointed out that coal stations were closing down and that their newer gas and nuclear replacements have yet to be constructed, leaving a gap in the energy market.

Non-executive director at Aquind Lord Callahan said that the growing energy supply gap is “threatening” UK households as well as businesses. He says that there is an urgent need for suppliers to introduce new capacity in a fast and reliable way. He added that the interconnector cable will “significantly ease the pressure” on the UK grid as well as reduce blackout risk.

Currently, the UK mainland possesses four interconnectors sourced from France, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. They supply 4GW of capacity. The proposed interconnector is one of two current privately funded interconnector projects that are
being considered.

Aquind is also applying for EU and UK regulation exemption from regulations that cover minimum/maximum prices as well as revenue and capacity. Six new interconnector cables have already been approved. They will be regulated under the cap and floor regime.

The company thinks being exempt will allow for more profit thanks to lower electricity prices due to France’s national grid. France relies mainly on nuclear energy for power.

ICIS head of power Zoe Double said that UK energy market pricing data showed that wholesale power prices over the past five years have become slowly more expensive than France’s. As a result, sourcing power from France to the UK has become more economic. The two markets’ spread has widened while Europe’s prices for power have declined. UK prices have not fallen as much as France’s have, partly due to concerns about meeting peak energy demands.