Construction of the interconnector will commence this summer – after receiving the relevant regulatory exemptions – and is expected to be commissioned by late 2010.
A contract has been awarded to Siemens for the construction of two high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations at the ISle of Grain in Kent and Maasvlakte near Rotterdam, and a subsea cable contract awarded to ABB for construction of the HDVC cables, that will be laid beneath the North Sea.
Electricity will flow in both directions and is expected to be determined by power prices in the Netherlands and UK.
Both companies have extensive experience in HDVC interconnector projects of this magnitude. TenneT are jointly constructing the 580km link, ‘NorNed’, between the Netherlands and Norway. National Grid has jointly operated the UK’s only other electricity interconnector to Continental Europe with France for over 20 years and recently completed construction on the 360km Basslink interconnector between mainland Australia and Tasmania.
BritNed will be a 'non-socialised' interconnector, which means all investment will be covered by National Grid and TenneT through the joint venture contract and will be separated from their regulated businesses. All of BritNed's capacity will be available for BritNed customers via a combination of ‘implicit’ auctions (marketcoupling), facilitated by the APX Group (former Amsterdam Power Exchange), and short term ‘explicit’ auctions.