Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Off the grid

A picturesque fjord in Kvilldal, where the Norwegian end of the pipeline will be situated A picturesque fjord in Kvilldal, where the Norwegian end of the pipeline will be situated Geoffrey Kopp
05 Jul
2015
The world’s longest underwater electricity cable will enable sharing of renewable energy between the UK and Norway

When the wind blows in the UK, the National Grid benefits from an injection of electricity generated by wind turbines across the country. But this doesn’t always coincide with periods of high demand – if demand is low, the extra power is lost.

However, from 2021 this extra power will be able to be exported thanks to a 730km underwater cable – known as a sub-sea interconnector – from Blyth, Northumberland, to Kvilldal in Norway. It will allow both countries to profit from this renewable energy source. Similarly, when wind power generation is low, the National Grid will be able to import energy generated by Norway’s low carbon hydropower reservoirs, run by state power grid operator Statnett, to meet demand.

The hope is that this symbiotic relationship will reduce both countries’ dependence on fossil fuels in order to provide a consistent, reliable supply of energy, as already takes place across Europe via a network of overland interconnectors.

‘For us, the increasing challenge is about managing the intermittency of wind generation,’ says Isobel Rowley, spokesperson for the National Grid. ‘To be able to do that with clean energy from Norway should prove very beneficial to us.’

‘Through this exchange, we ensure that we have more efficient use of the renewable sources on both sides, and that investing in new renewable energy is more profitable,’ adds Christer Gilje, Vice President Corporate Communications at Statnett, who described the project as ‘record breaking’.

The interconnector will start construction this year, at a total cost of around €2billion, to be paid jointly by the National Grid and Statnett. With a capacity of 1,400MW, enough to power nearly 750,000 UK homes, it will be the UK’s third sub-sea interconnector, after ones linking us to France and the Netherlands.

This article was published in the July 2015 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe to Geographical!

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The green dragon awakens
    China has achieved remarkable economic success following the principle of developing first and cleaning up later. But now the country with the world's...
    Mexico City: boom town
    Twenty years ago, Mexico City was considered the ultimate urban disaster. But, recent political and economic reforms have transformed it into a hub of...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Oceans

With the war against plastic gaining publicity and popularity, one…

Wildlife

India’s booming domestic dog population is attacking some of the…

Energy

Soaring sales of air conditioning units over the next thirty…

Climate

Well-meaning promises and actions don't always have the best outcomes.…

Geophoto

With the days at their longest and more light in…

Oceans

Tourism might be an economic pillar for many countries surrounding…

Wildlife

Brain sizes directly shown to correlate to survival rates among…

Wildlife

Celebrated author Professor Tim Birkhead provides a fascinating insight into…

Oceans

The world’s most biodiverse seagrass region – Indonesia’s Coral Triangle…

Oceans

Ocean conservation group urges world governments to step up action…

Climate

As climate conditions at the 100th meridian, the traditional United…

Climate

International shipping may be attempting to reduce its carbon footprint, but…

Geophoto

So much photographic theory is dedicated to image sharpness that…

Wildlife

Changing temperatures in East Africa are set to upset a delicate…

Climate

As the planet warms and tensions rise, Marco Magrini finds that…

Oceans

A deep-sea mission in the ocean around Bermuda confirms the…

Oceans

An oxygen-deprived ‘dead zone’ in the Arabian Sea is much…

Wildlife

Scientists working with new drone technology are hoping to reveal…

Oceans

A new virtual reality experience, ‘BBC Earth: Life in VR’,…

Nature

Faced with protecting a country more than 30 times the…