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  1. ITV Report

Northumberland to Norway: Could this be the solution to a non-stop flow of green energy?

Kvilldal converter station in the Norewgian fjords Credit: North Sea Link

It could be the answer to improving green energy supply to the UK - a unique project is going to link Blyth in Northumberland to the fjords of Kvilldal in Norway, meaning the two countries will share carbon-free electricity, generated entirely from wind and water power.

  • Our Industrial Correspondent Rachel Bullock was one of the first journalists to be granted access to the site in Kvildal. Watch her report here:

Key facts:

  • The North Sea link is made up of two 450 mile cables
  • The cables are buried 600 metres beneath the sea
  • The cables are 6in (15cm) wide
  • And will be able to transmit 1,400 megawatts of electricity
  • It's the longest subsea interconnector in the world
  • Construction will be completed in 2021
  • It helps towards the UK Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050
Miles of mountainside was blasted through to build a tunnel for the cables reach the North Sea Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The £1.8 billion collaboration between National Grid and Statnett will also allow extra power from British renewables to be "stored" in Norway's vast Blasjo reservoir, known as Europe's green battery.

The reservoir, constructed with a series of dams high up in mountains capped with snow and lakes, stores water from rainfall and snowmelt as part of a vast hydropower network with a 770 square mile (2,000 sq km) catchment.

As more offshore wind farms are built in the UK, there will be times the British grid has more renewable power than it needs, and it will be able to transmit electricity to power homes in Norway.

It can deliver power when there's a spike in demand or a fall in either country's resources Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Following a recent visit to National Grid’s North Sea Link interconnector in Norway, Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Climate Change for WWF UK, said:

The UK’s recent commitment to end our domestic contribution to climate change is a crucial first step in what’s needed to address the crisis affecting our planet. We now need a concerted effort to make climate action a priority – including powering our economy with clean energy – and the great thing is that we have the solutions at our fingertips.

Tackling the climate crisis requires unprecedented levels of co-operation and innovation if we’re to stand a chance of keeping warming to 1.5°C, so averting climate breakdown. The National Grid interconnector, which will carry clean power between Norway and our own grid, will help the UK secure its power supply as well as make it greener. It’s this type of solution which will help us go further and faster in our fight to protect our world.

– Head of Climate Change for WWF UK
Water power is the fuel for Norwegian life - from 2021, it'll benefit the UK
  • Why connect Norway and the UK?

North Sea Link will connect the Nordic and British markets directly for the first time, providing significant benefits for both countries.

  • What is an interconnector?

An interconnector is a connection between the electricity transmission systems of different countries. For North Sea Link the connection will be made via subsea cables.

An interconnector allows countries to trade power, helping to ensure safe, secure and affordable energy supplies.

  • What are converter stations and substations?

A converter station converts electricity between Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC). AC is used in each country’s transmission system, while DC is used for sending electricity long distances along the subsea cables.

A substation is a point of connection to an electricity network, changing the voltage of electricity so that it can be delivered to consumers via a distribution network.