EIB To Invest €300M in Offshore Transmission

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide €300 million for the construction of the BritNed Interconnector, a new electricity transmission cable between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The BritNed cable is a 50:50 joint venture, between National Grid and TenneT, who operate the grids. It will have a capacity of 1,000 MW and will boost competition by improving connections with European markets.

EIB will contribute 50% of the overall €600 million project cost. National Grid will receive €150 million following an agreement signed with the EIB on Monday, while TenneT will receive a further €150 million reached on Wednesday.

“BritNed will be a key element of European electricity infrastructure, enabling greater electricity trading, and improving security of supply, for the benefit of both the UK and the Netherlands,” said Simon Brooks, EIB vice president.

The high-voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine power cable will be between the Isle of Grain in Kent, and Maasvlakte near Rotterdam. The interconnector is already under construction and is expected to be completed by December, 2010. The BritNed link will be available for commercial operations in the first quarter of 2011.

According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), this project will go a long way to bringing offshore wind capacity online in Europe.

“Today’s decision by the EIB is a small but highly significant step towards what everyone in the business knows is absolutely essential – a European offshore grid to integrate 150 GW of offshore wind power by 2030. This grid is essential for improving European energy security, reducing costs for consumers and meeting Europe’s emissions reduction and renewable energy targets,” said Paul Wilczek, EWEA’s regulatory affairs adviser. “An effective pan-European offshore grid requires investments of €20-30 billion to 2030. The €300m from the EIB sends a very positive signal to future investors.”

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