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UK-Norway €1.5bn interconnector secures EU cash

The €10m funding will supply only a small portion of the money needed to build the 1.4GW interconnector, on which a final investment decision is expected in 2019.

A planned 1.4GW interconnector between the UK and Norway has received a €10 million funding boost from the European Union.

Coming from the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility, the financing will support the development of the 655km project expected to be completed by 2022. The NorthConnect interconnector is set to link power between Scotland and Norway’s west coast, exchanging the two countries’ respective wind and hydropower generation.

The EU’s funding will only provide a minor proportion of the interconnector’s total cost, estimated at €1.5 billion. The project is 33.2-percent owned by Swedish utility Vattenfall’s UK arm, while three Norwegian power firms – Lyse, Agder Energia and E-CO – each hold 22.2 percent. Scottish energy company SSE dropped out of the consortium in 2013 as part of its strategy to solely focus on the UK and Ireland.

The shareholders say they expect to make a final investment decision on NorthConnect in 2019.

“Being selected to receive funding from the EU is a very positive boost to the project’s momentum, and will give the project owners important support in the challenging development environment,” said Tommy Løvstad, chief executive of NorthConnect.

The link is one of two proposed interconnectors between the UK and Norway. Respective grid operators Statnett and National Grid are developing the North Sea Link, which also has a proposed 1.4GW capacity and is due to be operational in 2021. An interconnector between the UK and Iceland has also been mooted and is being backed by Pension Insurance Corporation founder Edi Truell.

NorthConnect was the largest of a number of electricity and gas interconnectors backed by the Connecting Europe Facility this month. These included a link between Ireland and France as well as €107.7 million in support for a Poland-Slovakia gas interconnector.