The Anonymous Widower

British And French Engineers Can Work Together

In the Sunday Times today, they are talking about a £4billion project to import electricity into the UK from Iceland,  It is called Icelink and it would appear to have the backing of both the UK and Iceland governments. There’s more about it in this article in Utility Week.

So it got me thinking about undersea electricity connections around the world. There is a list of them here. And there is forty-four of them

Perhaps the best known is the connection between Kent and France, which is called the HVDC Cross Channel.  It is actually the second one and it has been running for nearly thirty years. A section in Wikipedia describes its significance.

Since the commissioning of the 2,000 MW DC link in the 1980s, the bulk of power flow through the link has been from France to Britain. However, France imports energy as needed during the summer to meet demand, or when there is low availability of nuclear or hydroelectric power.

As of 2005 imports of electricity from France have historically accounted for about 5% of electricity available in the UK. Imports through the interconnector have generally been around the highest possible level, given the capacity of the link. In 2006, 97.5% of the energy transfers have been made from France to UK, supplying the equivalent of 3 million English homes. The link availability is around 98%, which is among the best rates in the world. The continued size and duration of this flow is open to some doubt, given the growth in demand in continental Europe for clean electricity, and increasing electricity demand within France.

So it would appear it’s been successful and proves that we can work with the French on an engineering project.

It strikes me that we need to connect all of our power systems together in Western Europe. The UK is being connected to Ireland, Iceland and Norway and the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are getting in on the act.

What you won’t find from reading about the cables, but you will in some newspaper articles, is that Norway will have the ability to store electricity in a pumped storage system in the future.

So when the wind is blowing and we have too much electricity, the Norwegians will pump water from a low to a high lake and when we want it back, the water will be released through a turbine. It’s like putting your KWh in a bank!

February 16, 2014 - Posted by | World | , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.