Northumberland building world's longest undersea cable

A billion pounds is to be spent building the world's longest undersea electricity cable from Northumberland.

The 700 mile long link will connect electricity supplies from Blyth to Norway, and onto Germany.

It is expected to create hundreds of jobs for the region by 2020.

The process involves a thick twist of wire which lies under the seabed.

It is called an interconnector - and there are already four of them linking the south coast to Holland and France, as well as the west of the country to Ireland.

But this project is far more ambitious. It will be the longest subsea interconnector in the world linking us to Norway and Germany.

It will take around three years for the link to be built from the Northumberland coast to Norway.

It will be three metres under the seabed and the whole thing would carry around one and a half gigawatts of electricity.

I think it is good news.

I think one of the big concerns about renewable energy is the security of supply.

This increases our security of supply, gives us the opportunity to export when its windy like today when we've got a surplus of wind power and also gives us the chance to import hydro-power from Norway in times of low wind in the North East.

– Tony Quinn Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

The end of the wire will be here at East Sleekburn near Blyth. But the plans are part of a larger scheme for the south east of Northumberland.

The wasteland where we're currently standing will be transformed.

There will be a large connector station here and then there will be 750 miles of cable running to this point to Norway and the overall plan for the estuary will be to bring in over 1000 jobs in the energy industries into Blyth.

– Peter Mcintyre Arch The Northumberland Development Company

Professor Phil Taylor is from the institute of sustainability at Newcastle University. He's in favour of the project but says maintaining power supply is key.

I guess you could argue by having this interconnector we could become more reliant on other countries.

If we lost that interconnector it might mean we would lose supply and therefore we'd have to make sure there was a balance making best use of the interconnector but not becoming overly reliant on it.

– Professor Phil Taylor, Institute of Sustainability at Newcastle University

The cable will carry enough electricity to boiling more than half a million kettles at any one time. Work will start in 2017 with a view to complete it in 2020. Frances Read ITV News Blyth.

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