Power Grid

22 Jan 2024

Britain Hits Record in Electricity Imports

22 Jan 2024  by energylivenews   

Image: National Grid

In 2023, Britain shifted from being a net exporter of electricity in 2022 to a net importer, constituting a record 13% of its total demand.

That’s according to data from LSEG Power Research, which shows that this change was influenced by factors such as low demand in Europe, contributions from Nordic hydroelectric power and the recovery of French nuclear production.

The recorded 13% net import surpassed the previous high of 12% in 2021 and stood in contrast to 2022 when Britain exported more power than it imported relative to power demand.

The capability to import and export electricity relies on the interconnectivity of power grids, facilitated by undersea cables.

The commissioning of the Viking Link, a 1,400 MW HVDC submarine power cable connecting Britain and Denmark in late 2023, played a crucial role in shaping these trends, analysts note.

Italy emerged as Europe’s leading electricity importer, both in terms of domestic power production (23%) and total power demand (19%), securing the top spot with an absolute consumption of 51.6TWh.

Nathalie Gerl, Lead Power Analyst at LSEG Power Research, comments: “In general, the opportunity of importing cheaper electricity from abroad reduces the occurrence of price spikes and specific to Britain, the overall wholesale price level is lower than it would be without the interconnection.

“It is highly unlikely that Britain will become dependent on imports in the narrow sense of the word, as the gas power plant supply is actually quite ample and allows the country to switch to net exporter when this is needed, as seen in 2022 when British exports helped to fill out shortfalls in French nuclear capacity.”


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