Wind Powers Unite: UK and Denmark Launch Viking Link

National Grid has officially launched the Viking Link, a groundbreaking 1.4GW interconnector that joins the British and Danish energy grids.

Stretching 475 miles (longer than the driving distance from London to Edinburgh) this £1.8 billion project is the world’s longest land and subsea electricity cable. Not only will it provide power to approximately 2.5 million UK homes, but it will also bring £5.2bn in benefits to consumers.

Having begun initial operations in December 2023, the Viking Link has already transported 1,733 GWh of power between the UK and Denmark.

Renewable Energy and Economic Benefits

The interconnector has been designed to facilitate the sharing of renewable energy – primarily wind power. This will aid the UK in becoming a net exporter of electricity by the 2030s, supporting both nations in their pursuit of net-zero carbon emissions while enhancing energy security.

The link is expected to bring significant economic benefits, including:

  • over £5 billion in savings for UK consumers over its lifespan; and
  • reducing carbon emissions by 600,000 tonnes in its first year (equivalent to removing 280,000 cars from UK roads).

Expansion and Future Projects

The Viking Link will be fundamental in harnessing up to 300GW of offshore wind power, thus providing sustainable, low-cost energy. This is along with two other projects:

  • The LionLink, a new 1.8GW link between the UK and the Netherlands, which aims to integrate offshore wind generation and is slated to be operational in the early 2030s.
  • The Nautilus, which is undergoing its planning phase at the time of writing. This would connect the UK with Belgium, enhancing the use of renewable energy and improving the reliability and security of electricity supplies.

Strategic Implications and Grid Enhancement Needs

At the heart of these projects is a mission to help ensure a stable, sustainable, and economically beneficial energy future, especially as the global market continues to evolve.

If successful, they will help avoid around 100 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030, with 90% of the energy sourced from zero-carbon sources.

The above aligns with the UK’s broader goals of decarbonising its energy system, reinforcing energy security, and achieving economic efficiencies.

However, these targets are set against a backdrop of rising electricity needs, which have resulted in a call for a £58 billion overhaul of the energy grid to expand its capacity.

This comes from National Grid’s Electricity System Operator, which predicts that Britain’s electricity demand will surge by nearly 65% by 2035. Consequently, the network will require significant enhancements to help the existing infrastructure cope with increased loads.

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