FAB Link remain confident despite two-year regulator decision delay

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 October 2019

The FAB Link will come ashore at Budleigh Salterton. Picture: Terry Ife/FAB Link Ltd

The FAB Link will come ashore at Budleigh Salterton. Picture: Terry Ife/FAB Link Ltd


The costs of a project for underwater power cables making landfall at Budleigh Salterton would outweigh the scheme’s benefits, according to a French energy regulator.

Commission de Regulation de l'Energie (CRE), in a report published earlier this year, said projects, like the one proposed by FAB Link Ltd, should be delayed.

The company is teaming up with French national grid company RTE in a bid to lay 220 kilometres of cable laid underwater between Menuel, in France, and a substation near Exeter Airport, via the island of Alderney.

The cables, making landfall near Lime Kiln car park, in Budleigh, would allow 1,400 megawatts of energy to be shared between the UK and France.

In a report on electricity interconnection projects with the UK, CRE called for caution saying the benefit of construction would not cover the costs.

CRE also suggested waiting for more clarity over the terms and conditions of Brexit.

However, FAB Link Ltd said it remains confident that the French regulator will soon be in a position to make a final investment decision.

CRE's report said: "The benefits of the construction of new interconnectors, beyond the 4,000MW that are to operated from 2021/2022 on this border, would not cover the costs of these projects, in all the considered scenarios.

"These projects would therefore have a negative socio-economic impact and this even without considering Brexit.

"Delaying investment decisions by a couple of years would allow to remove, at least partly, the uncertainties in relation with the terms and conditions of Brexit."

FAB Link Ltd says interconnectors will play a 'significant role' in the government's plans to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Project leaders also say a National Grid report calls for interconnector use to increase 'until the late 2020s'.

A spokesman for FAB Link Ltd added: "FAB Link's partner RTE, the French national grid company, has recently published its latest 10-year plan which shows the potential for two further cross-Channel projects which could be launched in the next few years ready to be operational from 2025.

"For all these reasons we are confident that the conditions will soon be met for the French regulator to be in a position to make a final investment decision."

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