UK company Aquind has signed an agreement with the French national transmission system operator RTE to link an interconnector to the French grid at Barnabos substation, in the region of Haute-Normandie.
The Aquind Interconnector is a new underground and subsea electricity cable providing additional power to the south of England.
The interconnector will be able to deliver up to 2GW of additional capacity to the UK grid – enough to power four million homes. The project is being developed without reliance on public subsidies and will require investment in excess of £1.1bn. The project’s construction phase, due for completion in 2022, will create up to 500 jobs.
The agreement with RTE marks a major milestone for Aquind, which now holds formal connection arrangements in both France and the UK. Once operational, the Aquind Interconnector will make Aquind one of the few companies other than RTE to be allowed to operate a power transmission asset in France.
Lord Callanan, a non-executive director at the company, said: “This major milestone for Aquind is especially important in the context of Brexit as it shows that cross-border projects, particularly in electricity transmission, can and do move forward despite the uncertainty. These obstacles have to be overcome if we’re to bridge the energy gap in the UK.
“It has been gratifying to see that cooperation between the UK and France in a highly regulated sector is still possible, even with ongoing negotiations and tensions in the background. The benefit of the interconnector to both countries rises above political wrangling.”
The company is currently in the process of applying for the regulatory approval in both countries. The project will ask for exemption from certain aspects of EU law – a legal requirement to operate such an asset in France.