|The UK just plugged in the world’s longest undersea cable — but the transformation of the power grid is just beginning|
|Not your average extension cord… The world’s longest undersea electricity cable started sending electricity between the UK and Norway earlier this week. Shares of National Grid, the UK energy giant behind the 450-mile cable, which trades on the NYSE, rose nearly 2% yesterday. NG has big plans for its network:|
Wind, water, wire: The new $1.9B North Sea Link cable will send British wind power to Norway and Norwegian hydropower back to the UK.
Underwater energy superhighway: NG already built “interconnectors” in the Netherlands, France, and Belgium — and it has plans to connect even more countries.
Low carbon: NG aims for 90% of its imported electricity to come from zero-carbon sources by 2030.
Energy sharing = energy caring…
One issue with renewables is intermittency, which happens when solar panels stop generating electricity on cloudy days and wind turbines slow down in less gusty weather. But power grids need to keep the lights on in all kinds of weather. One solution: electricity sharing. National Grid’s new cable enables both the UK and Norway to borrow spare juice from each other when their own wind and water systems slow down.
|Better grids are key to a renewable future… Shared energy grids are crucial now that 160+ countries have adopted renewable-energy targets and need backup when their sources wane. Businesses and orgs like the Renewable Energy Institute are working to connect cables across borders to make “supergrids.” Others, such as battery giants LG and Panasonic, are building mega-batteries that can store renewable energy, while carmakers Tesla, VW, and Nissan are working to transform their EVs into mini power plants. But countries still have a ways to go to reach targets: The US needs to triple its renewable investments by 2030 to hit its global climate goals.|