Renewable energy via sub-sea cable to Europe examined by Landsvirkjun

A potential sub-sea cable to Europe carrying renewable energy from Iceland is being looked into by Landsvirkjun.

Icelandic energy provider Landsvirkjun has been conducting a survey in order to evaluate the feasibility of building the world’s longest submarine electric cable, which will enable sales of renewable energy to Europe.

The study addresses potential business models, markets and congestion management, whilst also focusing on the export and import of electricity based on price differences between the European and Icelandic market. Landsvirkjun is also studying the impact on the Icelandic power market, security of supply in the Icelandic power system and resource management in Iceland, with emphasis on the use of the hydropower capacity.

The shortest possible distance of a cable from Iceland to a landing site in Europe is about 1.200 km, more than double the length of the NorNed (Norway-Netherlands) interconnector, and a sub-sea cable to the continent would be around 1.900 km. The transmission capacity examined is between 600 and 1.000 MW. The destination countries being studied are Norway, UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

A submarine cable between Iceland and its neighbouring countries has been discussed for decades. Various studies have been conducted, all with the conclusion that such a project is technically viable but not economically. A desktop study together with the Icelandic TSO Landsnet completed in 2010 indicated that this might have changed and an interconnector might be economically viable. The main rationale behind this change are higher electricity prices in Europe and increased demand for renewable energy with no or low emission of greenhouse gases.

It is estimated that it will take further four to five years to study the feasibility and technical and economical aspects of building such a marine cable. If and when a decision has been taken, further four to five years are needed for production and installation of the cable, construction of converter stations and other related tasks. The project could thus commence operation around 2020 at the earliest.

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