Because of its determination to diversify its power imports, including through a new undersea cable from Norway that just went live, the UK will be able to avoid an energy catastrophe threatened by Paris.
After France’s Europe Minister Clement Beaune vowed to restrict energy supply in order to “put pressure” on Britain to resolve a fishing conflict triggered by Brexit, the tough words followed.
While Mr Beaune did not elaborate on how they would carry out such a move, he did warn that countermeasures against the UK could be implemented “in the next few days.” The Interconnexion France-Angleterre (IFA) operates two undersea cables that provide enough electricity to power three million homes in the United Kingdom.
However, since a fire at a power plant in Kent caused the closing of one of the power cables, the UK has been aiming to rely less on France for its electricity.
The rewards of their labour are now visible to all, with the start-up of an underwater energy line that transports green power between Norway and the United Kingdom.
According to National Grid, the new cable, dubbed the North Sea Link, will import enough hydropower to power 1.4 million homes at full capacity.
It connects the Northumberland town of Blyth with the Norwegian settlement of Kvilldal across a distance of 450 kilometres.
When wind generation is high, and electricity demand is low, renewable energy will be exported from the UK. In contrast, renewable energy will be imported from Norway when demand is high, and wind generation is low.
This, according to Nicola Medalova, the National Grid’s director of interconnectors, is a significant step forward in the UK’s transition to net-zero energy.
“This cable, like other interconnectors, will allow us to access different types of energy from all over Europe,” she said.
“There is renewable energy that we can import to the UK to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce the cost of energy for UK customers.”
Civil engineer Mark. Z Jacobson praised the project on Twitter, saying it will lower energy prices and provide a “backup” to lessen reliance.
It will be National Grid’s fifth interconnector, following those to Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, as well as one under construction with Denmark.
And the EU should not be so quick to hurl such threats around.
It comes as Europe is experiencing its own gas crisis, with global gas prices increasing as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated gas shortage.
Mr Putin is awaiting confirmation from German regulators that the recently completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline will begin operating, which has pushed up gas prices and raised fears of European gas shortages.
It has sparked fears of a gas shortage in the United Kingdom, which imports gas from Europe.
Norway, which is not a member of the EU, may once again assist the UK in avoiding a potentially dangerous situation — not only through the new power line, but also through a solid economic partnership for gas exports.
Norway is the world’s largest crude oil and natural gas provider, importing 11.7 million metric tonnes of crude oil and 1.4 million metric tonnes of natural gas in 2020.
Britain will rely less on France for power as a result of this partnership with Norway, which includes both gas imports and a new special power line, and will be free of Mr Putin’s geopolitical threats.