Tuesday 11 March 2014

Markets and unions

Last week, the UK Energy Minister described the new subsea electricity interconnector running from Scotland to the Wirral as “the perfect symbol of the UK’s single energy market”, accompanied with the now customary warnings to Scotland about how badly they’d lose out if they became independent.
Apparently, independence could mean that English consumers will simply take their electricity from Belgium and France instead.  Well, yes, of course they can get their electricity through other interconnectors, such as the one between the UK and France, the one to the Netherlands, or the ones to the different parts of Ireland.  Interconnectors between grids are rapidly becoming the European norm – and as should be obvious from the fact that the UK mainland already has four of them, three linking to other sovereign states, the existence of a single state is not a prerequisite by any means.
What’s driving the construction of these interconnectors has nothing to do with sovereignty; it has everything to do with increasing resilience of the supply network as more of our electricity comes from variable sources.  It’s an approach which reduces risk.
The trading of electricity across these cables isn’t driven by sovereignty issues either; it’s driven by a combination of market pricing and the obligation to reduce the carbon cost of electricity generation.
What the minister singularly failed to explain is how exactly independence for Scotland changes any of those factors.

1 comment:

G Horton-Jones said...

Thank you for the missing link

A web search on sub sea electricity interconnector was most illuminating

What on earth was this minister talking about.

These cables are all about balancing generation and consumption demand over national boundaries.

Consumers purchase electricity from intermediaries.not from generators or major grid providers

Is the Minister saying that French electrons are some how different from those in for example Scotland or is he totally unaware that peak consumption in London is dependent on second class electrons from those ghastly foreigners on the other side of our our English Channel