LONDON May 15 Britain and Norway agreed on
Wednesday to continue work on a project to link up their
electricity grids by 2020 with what would be the world's longest
subsea power cable, giving Britain access to Norway's vast
reserves of carbon-free hydropower.
Britain's National Grid and its Norwegian counterpart
Statnett said they would continue to cooperate on the two-way
1,400 megawatt power link but are not likely to make an
investment decision until next year for a project expected to
cost 1.5 billion to 2 billion euros ($1.95-2.6 billion).
"This agreement is important for us to take the project
further. We are now ready to submit the interconnector licence
application to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.
Together these events represent a key milestone for the
project," said Auke Lont, Statnett's chief executive in a joint
The companies said the link would contribute to further
integration of the north European power markets and encourage
the supply and consumption of power generated from renewable
sources, thereby helping countries reach EU targets for 2020.
While most of the Scandinavian country's power supply comes
from hydroelectricity, coal accounts for up to 40 percent of
Britain's energy mix, and around 30 percent from gas with the
remainder of Britain's electricity coming from nuclear and
Britain already imports around 40 percent of its gas from
Norway through North Sea pipelines.
Britain can already import electrical power from France,
Ireland and the Netherlands and has plans to build a link with
Belgium. National Grid is also looking at the feasibility of
making connections with Denmark and Iceland.
National Grid and Statnett were given environmental permits
for a connector back in 2003 but failed that time to agree on
how to finance the project.