Why connect Norway and the UK?
North Sea Link will connect the Nordic and British markets directly for the first time, providing significant benefits for both countries.
North Sea Link will provide additional transmission capacity for electricity to be traded more efficiently, and will contribute to downward pressure on electricity prices when demand is high on one side of the cable.
The Norwegian and British energy systems are different and complementary. In the UK a number of power stations are due to close between 2016-2020. New generation will come on stream; however, this will come largely from renewable sources such as wind power which by its nature is intermittent.
Norwegian power generation comes predominantly from hydropower plants connected to large reservoirs. Such generation is flexible and very quick to respond to fluctuations in demand compared to other major generation technologies. The water level in reservoirs is, however, subject to weather conditions and so production varies throughout seasons and years.
North Sea Link will enable both countries to maximise the use of these natural resources for the benefit of consumers in Norway and the UK. When wind generation is high and electricity demand is low in the UK, North Sea Link will allow up to 1,400MW of power to flow from the UK, conserving water in Norway’s reservoirs. When demand is high in the UK and there is low wind generation, up to 1,400MW can flow from Norway, helping to ensure secure electricity supplies.
Renewables and climate change
To meet domestic and international renewable and climate change targets, the UK and Norway will continue to generate more power from renewable sources, including offshore and onshore wind, and large and small scale hydropower.
North Sea Link will help increase opportunities for shared use of renewable energy – a mix of generation, including wind power from the UK and hydropower from Norway.
Interconnectors provide an effective way to manage fluctuations in supply and demand.