January 2023 AQUIND welcomes the ruling by the High Court to quash the former business secretary’s decision to reject a £1.35 bn electricity interconnector with France.
AQUIND welcomes the High Court ruling to quash the decision of the then Secretary of State for Business (BEIS) Kwasi Kwarteng, who in January 2022 refused consent for AQUIND Interconnector, the £1.35bn electricity interconnector with France, despite the Planning Inspectorate’s report recommending that consent be granted for this Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).
The case centred on assessment of alternatives and the claim was successful on the following grounds:
1. Failure to take into account relevant evidence relating to alternatives;
2. Failure to discharge the duty set out in Section 104 of the Planning Act 2008 in respect of how decisions must be taken;
3. Failure to apply National Policy Statement EN-1 policies relating to the assessment of alternatives; and
4. Breach of the Tameside duty to take reasonable steps to inform so as to be able to discharge the relevant statutory duties.
AQUIND Interconnector is the largest planned interconnector in Britain by capacity. There is insufficient power generation infrastructure in the southeast of England. This new link will allow electricity to flow in either direction boosting energy security and resilience against fossil fuel price and supply shocks by connecting power generation capacity in Britain and France. The interconnector will deliver up to 5% of Great Britain’s annual electricity consumption – enough to power five million British homes with more affordable and sustainable electricity.
In March 2022, AQUIND sought permission to pursue a judicial review of the decision by the Secretary of State for Business to refuse the Development Consent Order.
Richard Glasspool, Director, said:
“This is wonderful news for the AQUIND Interconnector project. We were dismayed and disappointed when Kwasi Kwarteng refused the Development Consent Order. We look forward to re-engaging with local residents, stakeholders, environmental experts, and energy professionals in order to pursue the commitment to meeting the UKs Net Zero energy target.”
Notes to Editors
➢ AQUIND Interconnector is a bi-directional subsea electrical power transmission link between the UK and France.
➢ AQUIND Interconnector will have the net capacity of 2 GW sufficient to transmit up to 17 TWh per year, which is equivalent to 5% of Great Britain’s and 3% of France’s total annual electricity consumption.
➢ AQUIND interconnector will help integrate a greater proportion of non-fossil fuel energy sources and intermittent renewables into the GB energy mix, helping meet the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target by reducing CO2 emissions by 22.5-25.7 million tonnes, avoiding the curtailment of 73,000-87,000 GWh of renewable energy and saving 92,000 GWh (e.q.) of fossil fuels in power generation (TYNDP 2020 and 2022).
➢ AQUIND Interconnector will have a critical role in meeting the anticipated increase in the UK’s electricity demand. The Energy White Paper issued by BEIS in December 2020 set the target of 18 GW of interconnection capacity between Great Britain and neighbouring markets by 2030. Interconnectors will help integrate the growing share of renewable power generation and satisfy the demand for electricity stemming from electrification of transport and other sectors of the economy.
➢ AQUIND Interconnector will help reduce the impact of volatile gas and coal prices, which have caused electricity bills to increase in 2022/23. By making energy markets more efficient and competitive AQUIND Interconnector will create £5.3-£9.6 bn in social economic welfare benefits over the first 25 years of its operation.
➢ AQUIND Interconnector was recognised as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project in 2018. AQUIND applied for a Development Consent Order on 14 November 2019. A panel of three examining Inspectors appointed by the Planning Inspectorate (the Examining Authority, “ExA”) carried out the examination of the application until 8 March 2021. In its Report the ExA concluded that it “… is satisfied that the Applicant has set out a compelling case for the need for the Proposed Development”. Construction and operation of interconnectors are subject to oversight, approval and certification by the national energy regulators Ofgem (UK) and CRE (France).
➢ AQUIND Interconnector will create construction contract opportunities worth approximately £1.35 bn, with 1,000 (direct and indirect) full-time jobs during the 2-year construction period, and bring additional investment to the local economy.
➢ AQUIND has worked hard to ensure that impacts associated with the project are minimised. AQUIND Interconnector cable avoids the need for unsightly overhead power lines. No oil-based insulation is used in the cables and the submarine sections have additional armouring.
➢ AQUIND has attracted significant funds to finance pre-construction stage of the project, which is near completion. As soon as the Secretary of State grants the Development Consent AQUIND is ready to complete the tender process and proceed to the initial phase of the construction.
➢ AQUIND is engaging with key infrastructure (equity and debt) investors. Construction costs are estimated to be £1.35 bn. Revenues will come from congestion rent, GB and FR capacity markets, and ancillary services.
• AQUIND Interconnector https://aquind.co.uk
• TYNDP 2022 published by ENTSOe identified an urgent economic need for 4.8 GW of additional interconnection capacity over the current 4 GW between France and Great Britain by 2030, with AQUIND bringing EUR 245 m of social economic benefits to EU, GB and other neighbouring countries annually (NT 2030 scenario) www.tyndp.entsoe.eu
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