NeuConnect celebrates 4th anniversary as significant progress brings first UK-German energy link ever closer

February 28, 2022

NeuConnect celebrates 4th anniversary as significant progress brings first UK-German energy link ever closer

  • NeuConnect outlines the wide range of planning, political and regulatory milestones that have been achieved “at considerable speed” over the past 4 years

NeuConnect – a vital new energy link between two of Europe’s largest energy markets – is this week celebrating the 4th anniversary since NeuConnect Britain Ltd was established in 2018 to deliver the first direct link between the UK and German energy markets.

Led by global investors Meridiam, Allianz Capital Partners and Kansai Electric Power, NeuConnect is a £1.9bn privately-financed interconnector. By integrating renewable energy sources in the UK and Germany, NeuConnect will allow up to 1.4GW of electricity to flow in either direction, helping to deliver a more resilient and sustainable supply for both countries, while also helping to lower costs for consumers.

As a 720km ‘invisible energy highway’ between two of Europe’s largest markets, NeuConnect is one of the largest interconnectors being delivered but despite its scale and complexity, the development of the project has progressed at significant speed. In just four years, NeuConnect has progressed from a newly set-up company to being just a matter of weeks away from Financial Close, allowing construction to start later this year. Key milestones the project has achieved over the last 4 years include:

MAJOR PLANNING AND PERMITTING WORKS COMPLETED

  • In the early stages of the project in 2018, over 700km of seabed surveys were completed ahead of schedule to help establish the exact subsea route of the project
  • In 2019, a UK connection agreement was made with National Grid, securing NeuConnect’s UK connection point. A German connection agreement was finalised with TenneT in 2021.
  • Also in 2021, Dutch authorities awarded permits for offshore works in Dutch waters that will form a key part of the new energy link between the UK and Germany
  • Lands and relevant planning permissions for NeuConnect’s onshore works in Germany and the UK have now been secured

STRONG POLITICAL AND INDUSTRY SUPPORT RECEIVED

  • In summer 2021, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel outlined their support for NeuConnect, and the important new links it will create between both countries
  • In 2020, the UK Government’s Investment Minister also picked out NeuConnect as one of the “top notch green investments”that were supporting the UK’s net zero ambitions – the Minister’s support followed analysis showing that NeuConnect will help reduce CO2 emissions by 16 million tonnes over 25 years
  • In 2021, the German Bundestag included NeuConnect among a series of projects that will form Germany’s network expansion plans

VITAL REGULATORY CHANGES SECURED

  • As one of the first project-financed interconnectors being delivered and a ‘new entrant’ to the energy market, NeuConnect needed to secure changes to existing energy regulations in Germany and the UK to allow the project to go ahead and to also ‘open the door’ to future project-financed schemes
  • In 2020, UK energy regulator Ofgem approved changes to its interconnector regulations, recognising the important consumer benefits that project-financed schemes like NeuConnect will deliver
  • In 2021, the German Government passed new energy laws to pave the way for the construction and operation of independent cross-border interconnectors like NeuConnect

MAJOR PROCUREMENT AND FINANCING NEARING COMPLETION

  • NeuConnect launched a major £1bn+ procurement process in 2019, resulting in significant market interest – over £1bn of contracts for cabling and converter station works are due to be announced in the next few weeks
  • The NeuConnect project has also been ‘oversubscribed’ with interest from the financial market – final arrangements are now being put in place with banks to allow NeuConnect to reach Financial Close in the coming weeks

Julia Prescot, Chair of the NeuConnect Board and Partner at lead investor Meridiam, said:

“As we mark the 4th anniversary of NeuConnect, we’re proud to have made strong progress at such considerable speed over the last 4 years, and we are grateful for the continued support of Government, industry, and financial partners in helping us meet so many key milestones. With Financial Close now just a matter of weeks away, we will be keeping up the pace to bring this vital new energy link between the UK and Germany ever closer.”

For further information on the NeuConnect project, please visit uk.neuconnect-interconnector.com