Storm Angus, which struck the southern UK in the last week of November, is suspected of having had a damaging impact on the UK’s biggest energy interconnector, the 2GW Interconnexion France-Angleterre, which runs from Folkestone in SE England to Calais in France.
The UK’s National Grid has confirmed that the IFA link will run at only 50% cent of its capacity until the end of February after investigations revealed four of its eight subsea cable were severed during the storm.
“We experienced a trip of the IFA interconnector on the morning of Sunday 20 November,” National Grid said in a statement. “After further investigation, the fault has been identified and we can confirm that four of IFA’s eight cables have been damaged. This will result in a reduction of IFA’s maximum capacity to 1000 MW until the end of February 2017. Investigations are ongoing and teams on both sides of the channel are working to restore IFA to full availability.” A spokesman said the company was investigating whether the damage was caused by a ship’s anchor dragging along the sea floor during Storm Angus.
The loss means a significant drop in overall capacity for the country at a time when the capacity margin is already tight. National Grid had predicted a capacity margin of 1.1 % during peak hours this winter, but this figure assumed 2GW of net imports from continental Europe, partly through the IFA.
UK day-ahead power prices rose sharply when the news broke, with wind supplies standing at only 1.5 GW and higher power demand forecasts.