President Biden calls Emmanuel Macron after AUKUS controversy
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The tough talk came after France’s Europe Minister Clement Beaune who threatened to restrict energy supplies as a way to “put pressure” on Britain to end a fishing dispute caused by Brexit. While Mr Beaune did not go into detail as to how they would execute such a move, he warned countermeasures against the UK could be taken “in the next few days”. Two under-sea cables of the Interconnexion France-Angleterre (IFA) supply the UK with enough electricity to power three million homes.
But the UK has been looking to rely less on France for its energy, particularly since a fire at power facility in Kent forced the shutdown of one of the power cables.
And now the fruits of their labour can be seen for all as an underwater electricity cable that transfers green power between Norway and the UK has begun operation.
At full 1,400 megawatt capacity, the new cable, called the North Sea Link, will import enough hydro-power to supply 1.4 million homes according to National Grid.
It travels 450-miles to connects Blyth in Northumberland with the Norwegian village of Kvilldal.
The cable will see renewable power exported from the UK when wind generation is high and electricity demand low, or be imported from Norway when demand is high and wind generation is low.
Nicola Medalova, the director of interconnectors for the National Grid called this a major milestone in the UK’s move towards net-zero.
She said: “This cable, like other interconnectors, will allow us to access different types of energy from all over Europe.
“There is renewable energy that we can import to the UK to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce the cost of energy for UK customers.”
Praising the project, civil engineer Mark. Z Jacobson said on Twitter that this will reduce energy costs and provide a “backup” to reduce reliance.
It will be the fifth interconnector for National Grid, which also has links to Belgium, France and the Netherlands – and another with Denmark under construction.
And the EU should not be so fast to throw around such threats.
It comes as Europe face a gas crisis of its own, with gas prices skyrocketing globally following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reported gas squeeze.
Mr Putin is awaiting confirmation from German regulators for this newly built Nord Stream 2 pipeline to start running, further impacted gas prices and created fears of gas shortages across Europe.
It has prompted fears of a gas crisis in Britain, as it does import gas from Europe.
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Once again, Norway, who are not a member state of the EU, can help the UK avoid such a daunting situation – not only through the new power cable but also a healthy trading relationship for exporting gas.
Norway is the main supplier of both crude oil and natural gas and In 2020, some 11.7 million metric tons of crude oil and 1.4 million metric tons of natural gas were imported from the country.
Because of this relationship with Norway, including both its gas imports and new special power line, Britain’s will rely less on France for its power, and will be free from Mr Putin’s geopolitical threats.
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