French 'rubbing their hands' over record UK electricity imports

French 'rubbing their hands' over record UK electricity imports

WATCH: Dr Lawrence Newport speaks to Tom Harwood about green energy

GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 20/01/2024

- 17:12

It comes as solar and wind farms struggled to generate sufficient energy

The French will be "rubbing their hands" as Britain imported a record amount of electricity from Europe last year.

According to research from London Stock Exchange (LSEG) Power Research, the UK paid £3.5bn for electricity from France, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands last year, accounting for 12 per cent of net supply.

Official figures showed France accounted for around £1.5 billion of power sold to the UK in the year to November 2023 while Norway earned around £500m.

Closures of British power stations means the traffic on interconnector cables is increasingly one-way with the UK becoming increasingly dependent on its neighbours.

\u200b West Burton Power Station

West Burton Power Station A in Nottinghamshire closed last March


Chairman of the Commons energy select committee Angus MacNeil MP said he supported the creation of interconnector cables between Britain and its neighbours because they boosted energy security.

However, he added there needed to be a balance to the flows across the year rather than largely one way.

He said: "The French will be rubbing their hands - it’s easy money for them.

"The ideal is for the flows to be neutral overall in terms of both the flows of power and of money."


\u200bChairman of the Commons energy select committee Angus MacNeil

Chairman of the Commons energy select committee Angus MacNeil


Coal-fired power station West Burton A in Nottinghamshire was closed last March and nuclear station Hinkley Point B was closed in late 2022.

This has caused concern about Britain's ability to generate its own power.

There has been some relief with new wind and solar farms which can compensate energy supply to some extent.

However, spells of low wind or heavy cloud, a phenomenon known as "dunkelflaute", can reduce output.Met Office figures showed that wind speeds last year were below the 20-year average for 11 of the 12 months to December.

A National Grid spokesman told The Times: "As the UK continues to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and increase the development of cleaner, more affordable, and secure renewable energy, National Grid is delivering the biggest overhaul of the electricity grid in generations.

"The Great Grid Upgrade [connects] that cleaner, more affordable energy to communities in every part of England and Wales, helping us all reach net zero faster.

"Alongside this, interconnectors will provide the UK with an opportunity to share any abundance of new clean electricity from where it is generated to where it is needed."

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