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27 Jan, 2024 07:41

Britain steps up power purchases from EU countries – report

Shortages have arisen as output of renewable energy has failed to compensate for the closures of coal and nuclear plants
Britain steps up power purchases from EU countries – report

The UK purchased a record £3.5 billion ($4.4 billion) worth of electricity from EU countries last year as renewable energy failed to keep up with demand following shutdowns of coal and nuclear power plants, The Telegraph has reported this week, citing research from London Stock Exchange (LSEG) Power Research.

The electricity imports from France, Norway, Belgium, and the Netherlands accounted for 12% of net supply, according to the outlet. France accounted for about £1.5 billion of power sold to the UK in the year through November, while Norway was responsible for around £500 million, the data shows.

The electricity is brought to the UK via a growing network of interconnector cables designed to boost the collective resilience and energy security of neighboring countries, according to the outlet. “But closures of British power stations mean the traffic is increasingly one-way with the UK instead becoming dependent on its neighbors,” The Telegraph wrote.

Angus MacNeil, who heads up a parliamentary energy security committee, echoed these concerns, telling the outlet: “The French will be rubbing their hands – it’s easy money for them.” He added that “the ideal is for the flows to be neutral overall in terms of both the flows of power and of money.” 

The recent closures of coal-fired and nuclear power stations have seriously impacted Britain’s capacity to generate electricity. Meanwhile, energy generated by wind and solar farms has not been sufficient to meet the growing demand. Wind speeds last year were below the 20-year average for almost the entire year, according to Met Office data.

“The opportunity to import cheaper electricity from abroad reduces the occurrence of price spikes and could mean the overall wholesale price level is lower than it would be without the interconnection,” concluded LSEG Power Research analyst Nathalie Gerl.

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