In recent years, the idea of connecting European cities and countries through clean energy has been the subject of much debate. With a plan to cross borders and share resources across Europe, several micro power lines have been established, from the Danish-German Viking Link to the Nemo Link from Belgium to Britain.
However, in April 2023, it was announced that a collaboration of the UK’s National Grid and the Dutch TenneT will be launching the world’s largest cross-border power line, designed to generate 1.8 Gw of electricity between Britain and the Netherlands.
How Will The Power Line Work?
Conceived as part of a larger pledge for more renewable energy projects within the North Sea, this particular power line is set to be technologically ambitious, yet taking inspiration from previously successful offshore powerline projects.
The proposed power line (nicknamed the ‘LionLink’ interconnector) will be connected to an offshore wind farm in the North Sea and will generate enough power to cover the Zuid-Holland Dutch province and the combined cities of Manchester and Birmingham in the UK.
Set to supply more than 1.8 million houses between the two countries, the LionLink power line is planned to surpass the current longest power line in the world and to generate the most cross-border electricity ever recorded.
What Are The Advantages Of The LionLink?
Beyond the impressive amount of clean energy and power the LionLink line is set to generate, the plans revealed at a leader’s summit in Ostend, Belgium went on to describe some of the additional benefits of the installation:
1. Green Jobs For Locals
With so much construction, installation and engineering to complete, the project is expected to create over 40,000 green jobs for skilled workers to fill. Recruiting from local coastal communities near the North Sea wind farm, these jobs will provide guaranteed work for years to come, with the project set to launch in the 2030s.
2. Investment for Britain
The sheer scale of this project, and of the power line itself, has generated a huge amount of investment for Britain - a predicted figure of £20 billion so far - which will prove particularly beneficial to the coastal regions near the structure. This project is also set to contribute towards one of the goals of British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, in growing the economy through new business opportunities, employment and investment.
3. Further Independence from Russian Gas Imports
As the war in Ukraine continues, Britain and the Netherlands aim to reduce their reliance on Russian gas imports for good with the installation of this independent power source. Providing essential energy security for the two countries is a core goal for the LionLink project, as well as sending a ‘clear signal’ to Putin’s Russia that their ‘days of dominance are over.’ - (Dutch Energy Minister Rob Jetten)
4. Steps Towards Decarbonisation
Aligning itself with the goals of both Britain and the Netherlands, this step towards a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future is also a step towards decarbonisation for these two major countries.
What Is The Projected Timeline for the LionLink?
With the plans for LionLink released only a month ago, the plans for development are still being finalised - however, a rough timeline of progress has been released. With the first stage of development starting in 2023, the stakeholder consultation & licensing process likely to continue until 2026, the final investment being declared in 2026 also and the operation process starting in 2030, it’s set to be an ongoing project for both Britain and the Netherlands to oversee.
‘Any and all projects designed to help generate more renewable energy are always going to be huge undertakings, but their importance shouldn’t be understated. This power line, and the additional projects set to launch later this year, are vital to achieving our sustainable goals as a country, as a part of Europe and as part of a global effort for change. We expect great things to come from the LionLink project and look forward to seeing its final outcome.’
Mack Harter, Project Manager at Clean Energy Capital
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