The 260 km high-voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine power cable will be between the Isle of Grain in Kent (UK), and Maasvlakte near Rotterdam (The Netherlands). The interconnector is already under construction and is expected to be completed by December, 2010. The 1 GW BritNed link will be available for commercial operations in the first quarter of 2011.
The BritNed cable is a 50:50 joint venture, between National Grid and TenneT, who operate the grids. The electricity interconnector could make a significant contribution to the security and diversity of electricity supplies in both the UK and the Netherlands. The interconnector will also boost competition by improving connections with European markets, the JV and EIB say.
EIB will contribute 50% of the overall €600m project cost. National Grid will receive €150m following an agreement signed with the EIB on 7 December, while Tennet will receive a further €150m following a formal agreement on 9 December.
Paul Wilczek, Regulatory Affairs Adviser at the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), comments: “[The] decision by the EIB is a small but highly significant step towards what everyone in the business knows is absolutely essential - a European offshore grid to integrate 150 GW of offshore wind power by 2030. This grid is essential for improving European energy security, reducing costs for consumers and meeting Europe’s emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.
“An effective pan-European offshore grid requires investments of €20-30bn to 2030. The €300m from the EIB sends a very positive signal to future investors.”