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Renewable Energy: EC Action

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Dr. Whitehead) of 22 January 2009, Official Report, column 886, on a European supergrid, what recent assessment he has made of the merits of a pan-European supergrid; what estimate he has made of the likely annual cost of such a supergrid; and what assessment he has made of its likely effects on security of supply. (253797)

[holding reply 4 February 2009]: DECC officials are currently in discussion with the European Commission and other European countries on proposals for a supergrid linking offshore wind projects in the North Sea. This would be a major, long term but expensive project.

We are currently putting in place a new regulatory regime to connect to the GB Grid up to 33GW of renewable offshore generation needed in to meet our renewable energy targets. The cost of offshore connections for these projects alone is estimated to be up to around £15 billion - more than twice the value of the onshore grid.

A cost-benefit analysis DECC has undertaken on the optimal design of offshore transmission systems:

shows that the most economic connections for those offshore wind farms are direct connections to the nearest shore involving little extra cable capacity. This was supported by the recent study prepared by National Grid for the Crown Estate, on grid connections for round three offshore wind projects:

The UK supports further energy market integration by enabling greater cross-border electricity trade, which should also increase security of supply. However, it should be for the market to decide, based on the most economically efficient solutions.