New cross-Channel electricity connection IFA2 starts to bring power from France to Lee-on-the-Solent

THE National Grid’s second electricity connection to France is now able to flow electricity between the two countries at full capacity – and may be able to meet more than one per cent of Britain’s energy needs.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 11:01 am
The IFA2 project, which has seen the construction of a substation in Fareham, is now complete and ready to import low carbon electricity.

The IFA2 electricity interconnector linking the UK and France is a 149-mile subsea power cable, which stretches along the sea floor between the former HMS Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent and Caen in Normandy.

A joint venture with French Transmission System Operator RTE, the new connection increases the amount of energy that can be shared between the two countries.

With a capacity of 1000MW , the power cable can provide enough energy to power 1m British homes and is expected to meet 1.2 per cent of Britain’s electricity demand.

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The IFA2 project sending power between Fareham and France gears up to be tested ...

The link allows the access and importing of lower emission carbon electricity from France and estimates suggest the additional electricity flowing across the Channel will prevent an estimated 1.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere - equivalent to planting 50m trees - within its first full year of operation.

Jon Butterworth, managing director of National Grid Ventures, said: ‘IFA2 is the latest feat of world-class engineering helping to transform and decarbonise the electricity systems of Britain and its European neighbours. We’re delighted to have been able to again work with our partners RTE to strengthen the connection between the French and British power grids.

‘Together we are now able to help deliver cleaner, more secure, and more affordable energy to consumers at both ends of the cable. Our first interconnector, IFA, has been successfully operating for more than 30 years. We look forward to working together with RTE over the next 30 years, to support the delivery of net zero targets to fight climate change across the UK and Europe.’

Since construction began in 2018, IFA2 has seen more than 1,000 engineers and specialists work a total of around 3.2 million working hours to complete the project.

National Grid now has four operational interconnectors – two to France, one to the Netherlands and one to Belgium.

By 2030, 90 per cent of electricity imported via National Grid’s interconnectors will be from zero carbon sources which is estimated will prevent more than 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

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