Energy business is booming in Europe: for example, an undersea power cable between the UK and Germany – the first direct energy link between the two countries – is in the pipeline. Works on NeuConnect, as the privately funded project is called, will begin this year. The cable will carry 1.4 gigawatts (GW) of electricity in both directions and will be useful, for example, in case of excess electricity generation, which would otherwise be lost.
The war in Ukraine has made Europe aware of its problematic dependence on Russian energy. Therefore, the continent is experimenting with other means to meet its needs, even if this is a difficult task. With this in mind, contracts worth 1.5 billion pounds (1.8 billion euros) for an undersea power cable project have been signed between the project owners and Siemens, reports the US business medium CNBC.
The project is called NeuConnect, an” invisible energy highway”, as the operators describe it, which can transport 1.4 gigawatts (GW) – almost the equivalent of the power of a new nuclear reactor – in both directions between the UK and Germany.
The line is 725 kilometres long. According to NeuConnect, the project will provide the UK with the opportunity “to make use of Germany’s extensive energy infrastructure, including its significant renewable energy sources”. For Germany “the new connection with Great Britain will help alleviate the current bottlenecks, where wind turbines are often de-energized due to excessive renewable energy production”. Work is expected to begin in 2022.
Although Russia does not export electricity to Germany or the UK, it does export raw materials such as oil, coal, uranium and gas, which are used to generate electricity. Thus, if both countries have access to each other’s electricity (e.g. in case of overproduction), the demand for Russian energy products can already be reduced somewhat.
NeuConnect will be the First Direct Energy connection between the UK and Germany, but not the first in the North Sea. Last year, an electricity cable between Norway and the UK, called North Sea Link, was put into operation. The cable is the same length as NeuConnect: 725 kilometres. This allows the UK to use Norwegian hydroelectricity and Norway to use British wind energy.
Still in the UK, a submarine cable should connect Scotland to the north-east of England. The project is still under development, but is expected to be able to pass an impressive 4 GW of electricity.