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An interconnector is a structure which enables energy to flow between networks. The term is used more specifically to refer to international connections between electricity and natural gas networks. An electrical interconnector allows electricity to flow between separate interconnections, or synchronous grids. They can be formed of submarine power cables or underground power cables or overhead power lines. The longest interconnection as of 2016 was the undersea NorNed link between Norway and the Netherlands, spanning nearly 600 km and delivering 700 MW of high voltage direct current power.
Interconnectors allow the trading of energy between territories. For example, the North Sea Interconnector allows the trading of natural gas between the UK and Belgium and the East–West Interconnector allows the trading of electricity between the UK and the Ireland. A territory which generates more energy than it requires for its own activities can therefore sell surplus energy to a neighbouring territory.
Interconnectors also provide increased resilience. Within the European Union there is a movement towards a single market for energy, which makes interconnectors viable. As such, the Nordic and Baltic energy exchange Nord Pool Spot rely on multiple interconnectors. The fullest possible implementation of this is the proposed European super grid which would include numerous interconnectors between national networks.
Interconnectors may run across a land border or connect two land areas separated by water.
- Electricity interconnectors ofgem
- LARGE-SCALE ELECTRICITY INTERCONNECTION 2016
- IEA/OECD (2016) Large-Scale Electricity Interconnection: Technology and prospects for cross-regional networks, (IEA, Paris)
- BBC News, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21897715
- European Commission, http://ec.europa.eu/energy/gas_electricity/internal_market_en.htm