Fire-damaged power link between UK and France won’t be fully restored for two years – National Grid

A fire-damaged power link between the UK and France will not be fully restored for another two years, National Grid has revealed.

Part of the electricity interconnector at Sellindge in Kent was damaged by the blaze in September and the grid had aimed to restore it by next March.

But in an update published on Thursday night, it said “extensive work” was needed in order to return it safely to service.

National Grid said it would bring half of the affected 1000MW of capacity at the IFA link back from October 2022 through to May 2023.

Further work will then be undertaken to restore full capacity by October 2023.

National Grid said: “We are completely focused on getting IFA safely returned to service as soon as possible and ensuring we are able to support security of supply.”

a large building: An aerial photo shows the damage after the electricity interconnector fire at Sellindge in Kent© Sky News Screen Grab An aerial photo shows the damage after the electricity interconnector fire at Sellindge in Kent

In addition to the fire a planned outage has been taking place at the IFA link covering a further 1000MW capacity.

National Grid said that it had been able to reduce that outage time slightly, meaning that it will come back to service on 20 October rather than 23 October.

The update relates to the Interconnexion France-Angleterre (IFA) link, a joint venture between France’s RTE and National Grid operating the subsea electricity link between Britain and France.

September’s fire had helped send UK wholesale power prices surging, adding to pressures that had already been pushing them sharply higher including the spike in the wholesale gas market.

Last week, a report from the National Grid forecast that the UK would face a tighter margin between supply and demand for electricity supply this winter – but declared that there was enough capacity to keep the lights on.


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