Eleclink aims to assist in bridging energy gap

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Consultations are nearing closure on the Eleclink venture, as its backers and national regulators of the UK and France conclude arrangements on what should be a highly beneficial project for both countries, once it gets off the ground.

Angus Norman (pictured), Chief Executive Officer of Eleclink told Power Engineering International this week of the benefits likely to accrue once the project is operational, while in the background the informal consultation process that entails both regulators and the Directorate General for Energy continues towards a March 17th deadline.

Eleclink aims to transmit surplus electricity between Britain and France through the Channel Tunnel. The high-voltage 1000 MW interconnector proposal is 51 per cent owned by Star Capital and 49 per cent by Groupe Eurotunnel.
Angus Norman, Chief Executive Officer of Eleclink
Mr Norman told PEi that the talks were “constructive and progressive” as he underlined the benefits of the project.

“Clearly the fact that you have 1000 MW of interconnection that could be on stream by 2017 – that’s a big factor. At a time when capacity margins in both countries are decreasing, and we see 2016-17 as being a critical point, delivering early is a great advantage.”

“The fact that the project can deliver what is estimated to be around $880m (EUR640m) in real terms of net social benefit for France and the UK also speaks for itself. Then there is the reduction of CO2 emissions to consider.”

Eleclink claims the project can eliminate 6.1m tonnes of carbon, equivalent to around half a million cars or a medium size power station per annum, something that is greatly appealing to both governments as they seek to meet energy efficiency targets set by Brussels.

The project’s backers also point out that they are not socialising the costs to any of the end users.

“We have strong support from both governments and it has been designated as a project of interest
We are very confident in what is a good project and the fact that we can reduce construction risk by using the channel tunnel is a great move forward for us. The capital requirement versus the megawatts we can transfer will provide good value.”

If and when the project gets the go ahead, Eleclink estimates that there will be around 300 people involved in construction activity, with possibly up to 200 more in manufacture of cable and converter materials. Once completed around 20 personnel will be permanently employed upgrading and maintaining the interconnector and feeding into the commercial side of the operation.

The interconnector project was one of a number of business schemes that won the backing of David Cameron, UK prime minister, and Nicolas Sarkozy, former French president, at an Anglo-French summit two years ago.



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