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Investment minister dubs German interconnector ‘vital contribution to UK’s green ambitions’

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Minister for investment Gerry Grimstone has lauded the NeuConnect interconnector being developed between the UK and Germany as “a vital contribution to the UK’s green ambitions”.

This comes as analysis from FTI Consulting on the privately financed £1.4 billion interconnector is published, finding it will result in a net reduction in carbon emission of 16MtCO2 over 25 years.

It will facilitate greater integration of renewable generation between the UK and Germany, the report said, while also improving the security of supply.

The report detailed how since wind conditions often differ between regions in the same time period, this tends to lead to frequent periods of low wind and high wholesale prices in one region and simultaneous periods of high wind and low wholesale prices in another region. Interconnecting two such regions – such as the UK and Germany - facilitates a flow of low-cost renewable electricity depending on the prevailing weather conditions, meaning the production of low-cost renewable energy in one country can potentially be exported to benefit its neighbours.

This therefore reduces the chance that power from renewables goes wasted, increasing the total renewables share of electricity generation across both regions.

A recent report by LCP found that battery storage could also have a key role to play in reducing wind curtailment. It found that an increase of 20GWh of battery storage could reduce the amount of wasted wind power in Great Britain by 50%, with wind curtailments between Scotland and England expected to cost consumers £1 billion per year by 2025.

The NeuConnect interconnector – which is being developed by an international consortium led by Meridiam together with Allianz Capital Partners on behalf of the Allianz Group and Kansai Electric Power – is to allow 1.4GW of electricity to flow in either direction.

It is making “strong progress” according to the consortium, with a major procurement programme worth over £1bn well underway, lands secured in the UK and Germany with local planning processes well advanced, 700km of seabed surveys completed and the project receiving Project of Common Interest (PCI) status placing it on the list of Europe’s priority energy projects.

Grimstone continued to describe NeuConnect as “an important national project” as the UK looks to build back better and greener from COVID-19.

The UK’s latest interconnector – the IFA2 interconnector with France – went live in January, with Jon Butterworth, managing director of National Grid Ventures, describing it as “the latest feat of world class engineering”.

It tripped on 29 January, taking 900MW off the system and resulting in battery storage assets with Dynamic Containment contracts jumping into action to stabilise the grid.

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