Iceland volcanoes could power UK

Iceland volcanoes could supply energy to the UK

The UK and Iceland signed an energy agreement on Wednesday that could see Iceland’s volcanoes supplying electricity to the UK.

As part of the agreement, the energy ministers of both countries agreed to explore options for building the world's longest sub-sea electricity interconnector.

Under one scenario, geothermal power from Icelandic volcanoes could be exported to UK homes via a link that would require the world's longest power cable - stretching 1,800 kilometres on the seabed of the North Atlantic at depths of up to 3,000 metres.

The two countries also pledged to exchange information on the development of the deep geothermal sector in the UK, exchange information on the development of oil and gas industries, and work with their respective Ministries for International Development on renewable energy projects in developing countries with a special focus on East Africa.

UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: "Today's agreement will help pave the way for a closer relationship with Iceland, which I hope can yield significant benefits for the UK, including the development of geothermal power, greater use of interconnectors to transport energy under the sea, and developing oil and gas resources.”

Britain is currently linked to France and the Netherlands by interconnectors with a capacity of 3.5 gigawatts (GW), or the equivalent of 3 to 4 standard European nuclear power plants. An interconnector is also under construction between Britain and Ireland.

Eventually, the UK could have access to over 10 GW of capacity if its plans to connect to several other countries go ahead. It has plans for another 9 GW of interconnection, possibly linking the UK to Belgium, Norway, Spain, Iceland, the Channel Islands, as well as adding to current links with France.

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