Working Towards a Greener and More Secure Future
The last few years have seen a lot of discussion about the security of electricity supply in the UK and indeed the issue has caused widespread concern in some quarters. There is no doubt this is an important issue and even though the scare stories about the lights going out may be a little far-fetched the subject ought to be of interest to all of us in the electrical industry.
Concerns around oil supply and price (enjoy the current situation while you
can, oil prices are only going to go in one direction from here), macro government policy on new nuclear build and growing political instability in many of the key energy producing countries are just some of the issues that are worrying from a global perspective. They are of course no less worrying for the UK, as a small isolated island on the western fringes of Europe, where our industry can expect to see growing demand for electrical equipment and installations and the need therefore for sustainable and secure capacity in electricity supply.
So it has been both interesting and comforting to see real progress in the discussions to proceed with construction of a high voltage interconnector between Norway and the UK, a development that has largely gone unreported. If, as looks increasingly likely, the project does go ahead it will deliver the longest subsea interconnector in the world. The 700km underwater power line, providing an initial capacity of 1400 MW, would add to an existing network of interconnectors between the UK and France, Ireland and the Netherlands.
Crucially, the new interconnector would allow the UK to import hydroelectric power from a country with almost limitless capacity, delivering secure, sustainable and affordable power and going some way to supporting the achievement of European Union renewable targets. The growing integration of renewable energy production across Europe also allows the possibility
of the UK exporting excess wind power to Norway and beyond.
Overall though, it is the opportunity to bolster our fragile generating capacity and cope with the intermittent output from the growing dependence on wind and solar energy in the UK, and Scotland in particular, that should not be underestimated and must be welcomed as an infrastructure development of national importance.
So with a bit of luck we just need to keep the lights burning for another few years until the new interconnector comes online in 2020. From then on in we can almost certainly rely on a more sustainable, secure and green energy supply and one that will support the further development of the electrical industry in Scotland and beyond.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, SELECT