Britain could become a net exporter of electricity to Europe as soon as 2026, according to S&P Global Platts.
The U.K. imports about 7% of its electricity from Europe now, but that’s set to reverse, in part due to new cables that will boost links with the continent. With Britain aiming to quadruple offshore wind capacity this decade, it could have excess power to send through those lines.
Power flows to where prices are highest. At the moment this is often Britain, particularly along the two cables from France. But prices are expected to rise in mainland Europe, especially in the biggest market — Germany — as coal, lignite and nuclear plants are closed down, according to Platts. That will alter the economics and flow of electricity.
The U.K. aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050, and importing supplies of low-carbon electricity from countries like France, Norway and Denmark is part of that plan. Yet with power demand set to double over the period, Britain is also bolstering its own supply, targeting 40 gigawatts from offshore wind by 2030.