Undersea Ng

National Grid Launches Subsea Interconnector Between Britain and France

Oct. 16, 2020
IFA2 expected to deliver 1.2% of Britain's electricity needs, enough to power up to one million homes with zero-carbon energy.

National Grid recently launched a new subsea interconnector, the IFA2. The 149-mile-long power cable runs along the sea bed between Portsmouth, Hampshire, in the United Kingdom and near Caen, Normandy, in France, sharing surplus clean energy between the two countries.

The IFA2 is expected to deliver 1.2% of Britain's electricity needs, enough to power up to one million homes with zero-carbon energy. By the end of its first year in operation, the IFA2 will have helped avoid 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from entering the atmosphere, equivalent to planting 50 million trees.

The IFA2 has remained on time and on budget despite the pandemic. It entered its energization phase on Oct. 15. The 1000-MW high voltage direct current (HVDC) electrical interconnector is National Grid's second link to France and is the result of a shared £700 million (US$905.7 million) investment with partners RTE.

Interconnectors allow the United Kingdom to trade clean energy with neighboring countries, exporting it during times of excess generation and vice versa. They play a critical role in the country's transition to clean energy resources, connecting the United Kingdom to hydropower in Norway, wind power in Denmark, and carbon-free nuclear power in France.

Kwasi Kwarteng, minister for business, Energy and Clean Growth, said: "Recent government commitments to the development of our offshore wind infrastructure show how the United Kingdom is a world leader in low-carbon energy generation and the IFA2 will allow us to share those benefits with our friends and neighbors in France.”

Jon Butterworth, CEO of National Grid Ventures, said: "While the world is focused on the pandemic and managing the knock-on effects on our lives, we know that progress toward net-zero can't afford to falter and Britain needs to keep up the momentum in reducing harmful carbon emissions. The launch of the IFA2 interconnector, linking France and Britain's power grids, is an important step in accelerating our progress to a cleaner, greener future."

National Grid's three existing interconnectors power the equivalent of five million homes with zero-carbon energy. This is expected to increase to the equivalent of eight million homes a year by 2024, as three more interconnectors are completed, avoiding a total of 100 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2030, equivalent to taking two million cars off the road.

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