A new power line between the UK and the Netherlands will deliver enough electricity to “power more homes than Manchester and Birmingham combined”, the Government has announced.
The Government said LionLink will be the “world’s largest multi-use electricity power line” and claimed it will boost UK energy supplies with “enough to power 1.8 million homes”.
LionLink will connect the two countries to each other and to offshore wind farms in the North Sea to provide “clean, affordable” energy by the time it is due to be “operational by the early 2030s”.
Energy Secretary Grant Shapps hailed Monday’s “historic deal” as a boost to the UK’s energy security.
The cross-border electricity line will be only the second of its kind in the world — the first was built by Germany and Denmark.
The 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 announcement comes as Mr Shapps is set to lead a British business delegation to the North Sea Summit in Belgium on Monday, hoping to pursue new renewable energy and interconnector projects.
The summit will see nine countries – the UK, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway and the Netherlands – meet in Ostend to discuss ambitions for building future offshore wind farms.
Mr Shapps said: “Today’s historic deal with the Netherlands connects our two countries together through this exciting feat of innovation and engineering – the largest of its kind in the world which will provide enough electricity for more homes than in Manchester and Birmingham combined.
“Together with the strong ties we have with our northern European neighbours united today at the North Sea Summit, we are bolstering our energy security and sending a strong signal to Putin’s Russia that the days of his dominance over global power markets are well and truly over.”
LionLink will will be developed by National Grid Ventures and TenneT.
The Netherlands’ climate and energy minister Rob Jetten said: “With the North Sea becoming the largest supplier of green electricity for the Netherlands and large parts of Europe, we are ready to expand the interconnection between the two countries.
“LionLink provides close to two gigawatts of electricity to both countries, enough to power two million households.
“This new connection further boosts energy security and energy independence in Europe.
“Close collaboration on offshore wind energy and interconnection amongst the North Sea countries is imperative.
“So in case there is a surplus of wind generated electricity, it can be shared instantly to locations with a shortage of power, and vice versa.”
Mr Shapps is also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding between the UK and Denmark on Monday in a move aimed at ensuring further collaboration on the transition from fossil fuels to renewable technologies, especially offshore wind.
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.
“The new LionLink interconnector will be a critical step in the journey to Net Zero, by bolstering the UK’s energy security and creating key export markets for homegrown energy sources.
“The UK’s re-engagement with European partners on North Sea Energy Cooperation is a welcome development, and opens the door to creating a clean energy future that can benefit countries across the North Sea whilst tackling the shared challenge of climate change.”