Renewables

Europe, North America could trade solar power via world’s biggest subsea interconnector

europe north america could trade solar power via worlds biggest subsea interconnector

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Published

June 27, 2024

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Published:

June 27, 2024

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Three European businessmen are proposing a subsea power interconnector to link Europe with North America. The world’s biggest subsea energy interconnector would transfer renewable electricity in both directions, harnessing the sun’s movement across the sky.

The subsea interconnector, which is still just a proposal, would consist of three pairs of high-voltage cables stretching more than 3,200 kilometers across the floor of the Atlantic to connect the western United Kingdom with eastern Canada, and possibly New York with western France, according to a report by CNN.

The cables would transmit solar electricity between the continents depending on the time of day

The project would take advantage of the sun’s journey across the sky, supplying electricity from European solar power plants to North America when the sun is shining in Europe, and vice versa.

When the sun is high in Europe, the continent has more power than it needs, and that’s when it could send it to the United States, explains Simon Ludlam, founder and CEO of Etchea Energy. He is one of the three entrepreneurs proposing the project. Later, when the sun is at its zenith on the East Coast, Europe can get energy from there, according to him.

The cables could send 6 GW of energy in both directions at the speed of light, an equivalent to the output of six large-scale nuclear power plants, according to Laurent Segalen, founder of London-based renewable energy firm Megawatt-X, also part of the group backing the project.

The project, called NATO-L, also has geopolitical implications

The transatlantic interconnector project is in its early stages and is not expected to be completed before mid-2030s. It would need significant investment from several countries. The cost is difficult to predict. It has roughly been estimated at above GBP 20 billion (EUR 23.6 billion) but possibly less than GBP 46 billion (EUR 54.3 billion), which is the budget for the UK’s new nuclear power station, Hinkley Point C, according to the Telegraph.

Still, the entrepreneurs behind the proposal are optimistic because the transatlantic interconnector would not only contribute to climate action but also challenge Russia in the global energy wars and help compete with China for dominance in clean energy technology, the media outlet wrote.

Reflecting the geopolitical implications of the project, they even named it NATO-L, or the North Atlantic Transmission One-Link, according to the report.

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