National Grid Hails New Interconnector Bringing Coal Power From France!

By Paul Homewood


h/t Joe Public


 The National Grid have greeted the opening of its second interconnector with a fanfare!



After almost three years of construction – and despite coronavirus pandemic restrictions – low-carbon electricity has now started flowing at full capacity through IFA2. Our second electricity interconnector linking the UK and France takes us a step further on the journey to net zero.

Interconnexion France-Angleterre 2 (IFA2) – which stretches along the sea floor between Fareham, Hampshire in the UK and near Caen, Normandy in France – has now gone into operation, with low-carbon electricity flowing through the 149-mile subsea power cable at full capacity. Interconnectors are high-voltage electricity cables that allow us to share surplus clean energy.

It must of course be a remarkable feat of engineering, if it can filter out all of the fossil fuel power and only let “clean” energy through!


In reality, the opposite is true. What we are getting is “dirty” electricity.

Let me explain.


So far this month, gas and coal have provided 11% of France’s generation. However, nuclear, hydro, wind and solar power are always maximised on France’s grid, because they cannot be switched on and off, and because most of their costs are fixed.

Put another way, it is gas, coal and biomass which provide the MARGINAL generation required to top the fixed generation up to the total generation needed:




To the extent that the two French  I/Cs add to power demand in France, this has to be met from the variable generators, coal and gas. As we can see on the chart below, there has not been even an hour this month when gas has not been generating.



And the situation is no different in summer either.


Quite simply, France does not have enough nuclear and renewable power to meet its own needs, never mind have a surplus to sell to the UK.

So far this month, coal has been running at an average of 1.3 GW, and gas at 6.9 GW. The new IFA2 has a capacity of 1000 MW, so it is accurate to say that all of its output will come from coal, if those ratios are maintained.


Things of course are more complicated, in that France often needs to import power from elsewhere in Europe. Given that most of that is still coal and gas based, it makes an even bigger nonsense of the National Grid’s argument.

Needless to say, the National Grid are not doing this to save the polar bears, they are doing it to make money. They have contracts under the Capacity Market, under which they get paid to guarantee standby power, worth £12 million a year. They can also make money by buying in electricity at cheaper rates, not to mention exporting it as well.

Meanwhile the government can claim they have reduced emissions.


The National Grid press release is accompanied by a maudlin video about how we need to fight climate change.

I had to laugh at this bit though!



January 23, 2021 at 06:36AM

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