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Aquind Interconnection Project, UK–France [free access]

July 3, 2018

Developer: Aquind Limited, a division of the UK-based OGN Group 


 Project details and status: The high voltage direct current (HVDC) power link, which will run both undersea and underground, will connect northern France’s nuclear-powered electricity grid to southern England. It will transmit approximately 16,000 GWh of cleaner electricity annually.


The project entails the construction of the 240-km-long, 2 GW interconnection link between Lovedean, near Portsmouth in the UK, and the Le Havre area in France.  The interconnector aims to reduce the risk of blackouts in the UK.


The interconnector is expected to contribute to lower energy prices while reducing the carbon footprint.


In September 2016, UK’s energy regulator, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), approved the development of the proposed link. The project secured a connection agreement from Britain’s transmission system operator (TSO) National Grid.


In March 2017, Aquind Limited signed an agreement with France’s transmission network operator Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTE) to link the interconnection to France’s grid at the Barnabos substation, in the region of Haute-Normandie.


In October 2017, Aquind Limited and RTE referred the 240-km-long project to the French Commission Nationale du Débat Public (CNDP) or National Commission for Public Debate. CNDP was expected to soon organise a consultation to gather views of stakeholders on the project before it moves forward.


In November 2017, MMT, the Swedish marine survey company started an offshore geophysical survey for the project. The survey is aimed at selecting the final route for the project and supporting planning applications to the UK and French authorities. It will cover the proposed cable corridor between the landfall areas near Portsmouth in England and Dieppe in France. The survey was completed in June 2018.


Recently in June 2018, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) declined the Aquind Limited’s request for granting of certain exemptions from some regulatory provisions of the European Union (EU) Electricity Regulation and the Electricity Directive in the Third Energy Package for the interconnector project. According to the Agency the project doesn’t meet one of the conditions set in Article 17 of the EU Regulation on conditions for access to the network for cross-border exchanges in electricity, which states that the level of risk attached to the investment should be such that the project would not be realised unless an exemption is granted. The Agency, therefore decided not to grant the requested exemptions from the provisions on the use of congestion revenues, on unbundling, on third-party access, and on terms and conditions for connection and access, including tariffs.


The project aims to make energy markets more efficient, improve security of supply and enable greater flexibility, as power grids in the region evolve to adapt to different sources of renewable energy and changes in demand trends. The cost of the project which is being funded entirely by private investment is estimated at EUR1,400 million. The project is expected to be commissioned in 2020.