UK power market and the future

Power charges for UK users would decline by £1bn annually if electrical interconnectors between continental Europe and the UK were doubled by 2020, in accordance with the provider of England's electricity and gas networks.

“The £1bn cost saving could be reached for an expenditure of £3billion,” said Steve Holliday National Grid CEO

Interconnectors could be used to import or export electricity, since they enable transmission of electrical energy flow between different countries.

Britain has four so far, connecting the British mainland to Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland. These produce 5 % of current electrical energy capacity, equivalent to 4,000 megawatts. Importing cheaper energy reduces the UK’s wholesale prices and would assist users if affordable prices are passed on by vendors.

National Grid already mutually operates two of these cables, to the Netherlands and France. The energy business is also working with government backing on what would be the world’s longest interconnector, to Norway, geared towards tapping the nation’s excess of hydroelectric electricity. Other essential ventures are a 1,000MW connection to France and an extra 1,000MW supply line to Belgium - an established swing supplier of electricity to the UK economy.

Interactions are also occuring about plans for a UK to Denmark connection, Mr Holliday said.

The National Grid boss mentioned developing interconnection was a crucial weapon in the arsenal to avoid a pending “energy crunch”, as England’s generating capacity struggles from the shut down of ageing coal plants and nuclear reactors.

Prime Minister David Cameron has been nominated to support England's solar market by well over 150 businesses.

A document signed by outfits such as Triodos Bank, Kyocera, Ecotricity and Good Energy was delivered to Downing Street as DECC finished its consultation on proposed adjustments to support solar power.

The letter, arranged by the Solar Trade Association, stresses the value of rooftop setups and encourages a rethink on support cuts for large-scale projects.

The international market is expected to be worth £78billion per year in 2020, and the letter alerts the PM to act as necessary to guarantee UK share of the market.

It moreover illustrates the “very positive benefits solar parity will provide for UK companies such as improving intercontinental competitiveness, lower power cost inflation and better energy sector competition”.

STA chief executive Paul Barwell noted: “Solar is a home grown answer to the UK’s power crisis. If the government offers a reliable policy environment it will soon be subsidy free. But the Government is now proposing to tilt the playing field against large-scale solar while not taking adequate action to unlock commercial rooftop solar - that is undesirable.

“We encourage DECC not to shut the Renewables Obligation to large-scale solar and to rethink proposals on feed-in tariffs to permit a meaningful rooftop market, which their own Solar PV Strategy recognises such great opportunity.”

“So serious are the ramifications of these consultations for the British solar market that we are asking the Prime Minister to intervene. We need one more push, another period of policy stability to be able to compete with non-renewable fuels without support. That's the global contest the PM has to win for the UK economy and the climate.”