The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced that interconnectors linking Britain to other European countries will be able to participate in the 2015 second four-year-ahead capacity market auction. The first auction is scheduled to be held at the end of this year.
An interconnector is a connection between the electricity transmission systems of different countries.
There are currently several interconnector projects in the pipeline representing about $8 billion of private sector investment by 2020, DECC said. By providing cheaper energy, interconnectors could save consumers up to $14 billion out to 2040.
The European Commission recently announced almost $50 million in funding toward the longest subsea cable in the world, which will link the UK to Norwegian hydropower and two interconnectors to France. One will use the Channel Tunnel; the other has the potential to connect to future tidal generation being developed off the coast of Alderney, one of the Channel Islands. Together these three projects will almost double the power the UK is able to receive via interconnectors, with further projects also in the pipeline.
Interconnectors will be subject to the same prequalification process as domestic capacity providers. Eligibility will be determined by factors such as technical reliability and the likely future direction of electricity flows at times of stress. Qualified resources will be eligible for one-year agreements.