First look in Northumberland plant where clean energy arrives from Norway via world's biggest link

  • Video report by Rachel Bullock

A "super highway" bringing in clean energy from Norway via the longest subsea electricity cable in the world has already imported enough to fuel 1.5million British homes.

The North Sea Link interconnector, which is the longest subsea electricity cable in the world, has been in operation for a year and has saved 800,000 tonnes of carbon.

We had an exclusive look around the plant in Cambois, Northumberland, which is connected to Norway by twin cables stretching for 450 miles under the North Sea, passing green power between the countries to try and keep the lights on.

The link has imported 4.6 TWh of clean electricity in its first year - enough to power 1.5 million British homes. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The interconnector is aimed at transmitting electricity between the two countries, connecting Britain with cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy.

They make Britain’s energy system more secure, by providing operators the critical tools they need to manage rapid changes in supply and demand, supporting the growth of intermittent renewables, with the ability to respond in minutes, compared to hours for conventional fossil fuel generators.

The company says 5.7 terawatts of clean power have been shared between the countries, saving 800,000 tonnes of carbon in a year and importing enough green energy to offset the carbon cost of constructing it in the first six months.

A joint venture between National Grid and Norwegian transmission system operator Statnett, North Sea Link stretches for hundreds of miles beneath the North Sea travelling through mountains and fjords to connect Blyth in the UK with the Norwegian village of Kvilldal.

During its first year of operation, the world's biggest link has imported 4.6 TWh of clean electricity - enough to power 1.5 million British homes for a year.

North Sea Link, which is National Grid’s fifth interconnector linking the UK with Europe, has also exported 1.1 TWh to Norway.

The cable runs between the Cambois plant in Blyth, UK and the Norwegian village of Kvilldal. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Nicola Medalova, managing director interconnectors for National Grid, said: “North Sea Link is a remarkable feat of engineering and demonstrates how we can work with our neighbours to use every spare electron of green electricity to strengthen our energy supplies.

"Repaying the carbon cost of construction and operation within six months also means we have been able to see the environmental impacts of this project in a matter of weeks – benefits which will last for generations to come.

“By 2030, we estimate our interconnectors will have saved the UK around 100 million tonnes of CO2 by enabling the fast and flexible sharing of clean, lower cost energy with our European neighbours - equivalent to taking two million cars off the road.

"These vital energy superhighways will be a critical part of a cleaner, fairer and more affordable energy system, reducing our reliance fossil-fuelled generation.”

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