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Overseas Electricity Interconnection



United Kingdom

Fieldfisher Partner, Charles Whiddington has contributed towards a parliamentary paper discussing Electricity markets in the UK, Ireland and continental Europe and the potential effects of Brexit.

Electricity across the EU is physically linked by ‘interconnector’ cables. These benefit energy system operators and consumers by reducing prices. They can also help integrate renewable electricity and ensure security of supply. This note discusses these benefits, proposals for future increases in interconnection.

Key points in this POSTnote include:

  • The UK currently imports around 6% of its electricity from northwest Europe. Imports are expected to increase significantly. Interconnector capacity will double by the early 2020s, and may double again by 2030.
  • Access to cheaper electricity from abroad has reduced the price of UK electricity to date. Interconnection causes prices in connected markets to converge.
  • Interconnectors reduce the need to curtail intermittent generation, reducing the cost of renewables to the electricity system.
  • Imports can improve energy security by providing access to a wider market.
  • EU regulations and bodies currently govern trade across interconnectors. If the UK leaves the Internal Energy Market, trade may become less efficient and more costly.


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Article was first published on and can be found by clicking here. POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed.

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