A new power line which could provide green electricity to 1.8 million homes is set to be built by the UK and the Netherlands as part of a plan to boost energy security.
Officials claim the LionLink connection beneath the North Sea will be the “world’s largest multi-use electricity power line”.
It will connect the two countries to each other and to offshore wind farms in the North Sea when it becomes “operational by the early 2030s”.
The cross-border electricity cable will be only the second of its kind in the world – the first was built by Germany and Denmark.
The British government claimed it will be able to carry more than four times the amount of electricity as its predecessor – 1.8GW compared with 0.4GW – making it “the largest of its kind in terms of capacity anywhere in the world”.
The project is being developed by Britain’s National Grid and Dutch electricity network operator TenneT.
The line will be able to move enough surplus energy between the countries to power Birmingham and Manchester combined, according to ministers.
Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said Monday’s “historic deal” was a boost to the UK’s energy security and sends a “strong signal to Putin’s Russia that the days of his dominance over global power markets are well and truly over”.
The Netherlands’ climate and energy minister Rob Jetten said “close collaboration” on offshore wind energy among North Sea countries was “imperative”.
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Emma Pinchbeck, chief executive of the trade association Energy UK, said: “Tapping the potential of the North Sea to generate and deliver clean energy is key to ensuring that we reach net zero in the quickest and cheapest way possible.”
Jess Ralston, of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit – an organisation which supports “informed debate on energy and climate change issues” – said: “The North Sea oil and gas basin is in terminal decline, so unless the deployment of renewables as well as electric heat pumps and the basics like home insulation is sped up, we’ll become more dependent on foreign gas imports.”
The LionLink announcement was made at the North Sea Summit in Belgium on Monday.
The UK, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway and the Netherlands are meeting in Ostend to discuss ambitions for building future offshore wind farms.