IFA2 interconnector map

IFA2 interconnector in full flow

Interconnexion France-Angleterre 2 (IFA2), electricity interconnector linking the UK and France, is now able to flow low carbon electricity between the two countries at full capacity.

IFA2 is 240 kilometres long subsea power cable, which stretches along the sea floor between Fareham, Hampshire in the UK and near Caen, Normandy in France.

It is a joint project between transmission system operators RTE and National Grid UK.

With a capacity of 1GW, the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power cable can provide enough energy to power 1 million British homes.

Since construction began in 2018, IFA2 has seen more than 1,000 engineers and specialists work a total of more than 3 million hours.

Much of the work took place in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, with social distancing restrictions carefully adhered to at all times by our teams

Zac Richardson, head of Interconnectors for National Grid Ventures, said:

“The construction and operations team, together with our supply chain, have done an incredible job over the last few months to get us to this point – and all during a pandemic, which has meant the team having to work within significant social distancing restrictions on site.”

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21 January, was the first day of trading for the new interconnector’s electricity and saw wholesale power traders buying up all of the ‘day ahead’ capacity that was auctioned.

Significant contribution to the journey to net zero

By importing lower-carbon electricity from France, National Grid estimates the project will have prevented 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere in its first full year of operation.

National Grid now has four operational interconnectors – two to France (IFA and IFA2), one to the Netherlands (BritNed) and one to Belgium (Nemo Link).

Two further projects are under construction – Norway (North Sea Link, to be operational in 2021) and Denmark (Viking Link, operational in 2023).

By 2030, 90% of electricity imported via National Grid’s interconnectors will be from zero carbon sources. Between 2020 and 2030, we estimate that our interconnectors will prevent more than 100 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

Jon Butterworth, managing director of National Grid Ventures, also said: “IFA2 is the latest feat of world-class engineering, helping to transform and decarbonise the electricity systems of Britain and its European neighbours.

“We’re delighted to have been able to again work with our partners RTE, to strengthen the connection between the French and British power grids. Together we are now able to help deliver cleaner, more secure and more affordable energy to consumers at both ends of the cable.

“Our first interconnector together, IFA, has been successfully operating for more than 30 years. We look forward to working together with RTE over the next 30 years, to support the delivery of net zero targets to fight climate change across the UK and Europe.”