Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Cross-Channel £1.1bn electricity link plan submitted by Aquind

Alexander Temerko Image copyright BBC News
Image caption Aquind Ltd is led by Ukrainian-born British businessman Alexander Temerko

Plans for a privately funded £1.1bn electricity link between England and France have been submitted.

Aquind Ltd wants to lay a 238km (148 mile) cable between Lovedean in Hampshire and Normandy.

The two-way link could supply up to 5% of Great Britain's energy needs with cheaper, greener electricity, the firm said.

It aims to start delivering power in 2023 if the application to the Planning Inspectorate is approved.

Image copyright Google
Image caption A converter station would be built close to the National Grid sub-station at Lovedean

Aquind said the link, known as an interconnector, would "make a significant contribution to the security of Great Britain's electricity supply and achieve greater affordability by improving competition".

It said it would typically import electricity from France because British gas and coal-derived power was more expensive than French nuclear and renewable sources.

The firm, which is led by Ukrainian-born businessman Alexander Temerko, said it was unlike most similar projects in that no investment costs would be passed to consumers in Great Britain or France.

Image copyright National Grid
Image caption A similar converter station is under construction for the IFA2 interconnector at Daedalus, Fareham

If the Planning Inspectorate grants a development consent order, construction would begin in 2021.

Portsmouth City Council has objected to the scheme, which would reach the Hampshire coast at Eastney beach.

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: "It seems bizarre that if you're going to bring an electric cable in from France, you land it at the southern end of the most densely-populated city out of London and then take this cable all the way through the city."

Image copyright Chris Illingworth
Image caption The interconnector would make landfall at Eastney beach in Portsmouth

The UK currently has four active interconnectors linking it to Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.

Another 10, including Aquind's 2GW-link, are planned, potentially bringing capacity to almost 18GW by 2023, according to Ofgem - the government regulator for gas and electricity.

Existing and future UK interconnectors

Image copyright OFGEM
Image caption Great Britain's interconnector capacity could increase to nearly 18 GW by 2023
  • IFA (England - France): Opened in 1986 (2GW capacity)
  • BritNed (England - Netherlands): 2011 (1GW)
  • EWIC (Wales - Ireland): 2012 (0.5GW)
  • Nemo (England - Belgium): January 2019 (1GW)

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