The 1000 MW high voltage connection between the Isle of Grain in Kent and Maasvlakte near Rotterdam will transmit power in both directions, driven by supply and demand patterns and by price differentials between the two power markets. BritNed was completed on time and within the budget of £500 million.
BritNed is a joint venture between National Grid and TenneT, the Dutch Transmission System Operator. The new subsea cable benefits security and diversity of electricity supply in both countries. The interconnector contributes to integrating European markets, providing greater import and export opportunities. It also will enable the integration of electricity generated by wind farms on the European continent and the UK into the European and UK-grid.
This is the first electricity connection between UK and Europe in since the commissioning of the IFA link with France 25 years ago. BritNed will strengthen the links between UK and Central Western Europe (CWE) and the Nordic countries - 9 countries in all.
Nick Winser, executive director of National Grid said:
“Our investment in this interconnector means that we are joining a much wider European electricity market. This ability that we will now have to move power across national borders means we can use the full potential of renewable energy from wind – making it easier to import when wind is not available and export when there is a surplus.
“The connection of UK to wider European markets will increase competition among suppliers and also give electricity generators more opportunities. Overall, this should be of benefit to business and consumers.”
Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:
“This is good news for our energy security, for UK renewables and for consumers. It plugs the UK directly into a wider European electricity market, allowing us to import our peak needs cheaply rather than hold expensive plant in readiness. Renewables win as it means surplus wind power can be easily shared. Consumers win as a single European market puts pressure on prices. And more new cables are planned so by 2020 we could have over 10GW of additional electricity flowing under the North Sea.”
The link will facilitate competition and contribute to the European Commission's desire for greater interconnection to achieve a common European energy market. Therefore, it has been identified as a 'priority' project in the European power market.
Bill Russell, director BritNed said:
"Via market coupling BritNed provides UK traders for the first time a gateway to the highly liquid European market. Earlier experience of coupling cross border markets has witnessed an increase of liquidity and volumes and the creation of a stable reference price. We expect that the UK market will now benefit from the same experience.”
This commercial, or 'non-socialised' interconnector, is funded and operated independently from National Grid and TenneT's regulated businesses and allows 100% third-party-access for all market participants. Customers have open access to the capacity through a combination of 'implicit' auctions (day ahead) facilitated by APX-ENDEX, and BritNed's 'explicit' auctions (annual, monthly, intraday). This approach gives customers real choice about how they bid for capacity and ensures that BritNed supports the ambitions for greater transparency in the European energy markets.
BritNed is a joint venture between National Grid and TenneT. The goal is to construct and commercially operate an electricity link between Great Britain and the Netherlands. The BritNed cable will have a capacity of 1,000 MW and will be 260 km long.
Cable facts & figures
Voltage: ± 450 kV DC
Cable capacity: 1.000 MW
Weight 44 kg/metre (single cable)
Length sea cable: 250 km (two cables, bundled)
Length land cable: 7 km (NL) and 2 km (GB), two cables, laid together
Conductor: 1 x 1430 mm2 Cu (copper)
The two converter stations are built at Maasvlakte and at the Isle of Grain. The stations convert direct current to alternating current and then transfer the electricity to the British and Dutch high-voltage electricity transmission systems.
ABB High Voltage Cables was responsible for producing and laying the cable on behalf of BritNed. The BAM Nuttall / Siemens consortium was responsible for the construction of the converter stations and for manufacturing and installing the converter equipment.