The world’s longest undersea interconnector is to be built between UK and Norway to power almost 750,000 homes in the UK.
National Grid and Statnett, the Norwegian transmission system operator, are due to sign the ownership agreement for the 450-mile (730km) interconnector at the British embassy in Oslo on Thursday.
The £1.4bn North Sea Network (NSN) project, with costs split between the two countries, will allow the UK to import electricity from Norway’s hydropower schemes, for example when domestic wind farms are not generating power.
The two-way electricity cable has a capacity of 1.4GW and could provide 14 per cent of the UK’s yearly household electricity needs. It will stretch from Blyth in Northumberland to Kvilldal, in Rogaland, on the Norwegian side.
The connector is set to be completed by 2021 and will save consumers up to £3.5bn over 25 years by importing cheaper electricity, according to an estimate by UK’s energy regulator Ofgem.
Ed Davey, energy secretary, said the deal would give the UK access to Norwegian green hydropower at the flick of a switch, and will act as a safety net when the wind is not blowing to power turbines.
“Coming after the recent confirmation of the Nemo interconnector project with Belgium, I am proud we are now seeing a huge increase in Britain's energy options and the prospect of a real single energy market and energy supergrid in Europe.”
Alan Foster, National Grid’s director of European business development, said: “Access to low-carbon energy from Norway hydro power stations will help us meet the challenge of greener, affordable energy. It also adds to the diversity of energy sources for UK and potentially can reduce peak prices with benefits for consumers and businesses.”