The world’s longest electricity connector is to be built between the UK and Norway to supply low-carbon power from the Scandinavian country.
The 450-mile (724km) long “interconnector”, which has the capacity to supply enough electricity to power nearly three quarters of a million UK homes, will help with energy security and could cut consumer bills, officials said.
It will be the first electricity interconnector between the two countries, with the £1.5 billion cost of the scheme split between the UK and Norway.
The scheme will allow the UK to import electricity from Norway’s hydropower schemes, for example when British wind farms are not generating power, and could mean as much as 14% of the electricity used in British homes comes from the green energy source.
It is also estimated that the scheme, which will run from Blyth in Northumberland to Kvilldal in Rogaland on the Norwegian side, will bring cheaper electricity to the UK and deliver savings to consumers of £3.5 billion over 25 years, or £56 million a year.
The deal is being signed between National Grid and Statnett, the Norwegian transmission system operator, at the British Embassy in Oslo, and the connector is set to be completed by 2021.
Alan Foster, director of European business development for National Grid, said: “Access to low-carbon energy from Norway hydro power stations will help us meet the challenge of greener, affordable energy.
“It also adds to the diversity of energy sources for UK and potentially can reduce peak prices with benefits for consumers and businesses.”
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Britain will benefit from Norwegian green hydropower, at the flick of a switch, providing green backup power when the wind’s not blowing, and this will actually save people money.
“Coming after the recent confirmation of the Nemo interconnector project with Belgium, I am proud we are now seeing a huge increase in Britain’s energy options, and the prospect of a real single energy market and energy supergrid in Europe.”