Does the UK Sell Electricity to Other Countries?

credit: energynetworks

London (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Britain sells electricity to European countries. The interconnectors that are connecting the UK’s electricity system are exporting electricity to the majority of the European countries including France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. UK’s electricity export has become a lifeline for Europe in recent months. Various European countries have seen electricity shutdowns and this has resulted in the aid of electricity support from the UK.

UK comes To Rescue Mainland Europe With Electricity Export 

Britain’s power system is under use by many European countries. The shutdown of electricity in different European countries has resulted in high energy transfers from the UK. The United Kingdom has come to the rescue of mainland Europe in times of their need.

 In recent months the situation in Europe has become worse. Due to the war in Ukraine, the electricity shortage in various European countries is creating a lot of problems. The UK has been exporting electricity to Europe since 2017. The export over the years has made up for the record shutdowns of French nuclear reactors.

Britain Stands As The Top Net Electricity exporter 

According to the data released by the National Grid Britain has been a net exporter of electricity to Europe for many years now. The export is carried out via subsea cables. These cables connect the electricity to various European countries including France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Every month these cables supply electricity to European countries and have helped them to survive power shutdowns.  

Britain usually relies on imports from the continent as they want to balance their grid. The focus is high especially during periods when renewables like wind and solar aren’t generating. The last time the UK became a net electricity exporter every month was in November 2017. With the high level of exports Britain is playing an important role in keeping the European countries alive. 

Electricity Export Of £1.5 billion

The UK has reported a record-breaking 5.5TWh of power export to European countries in the past few months. This export is worth around £1.5 billion. The power shutdowns in Europe in the second quarter of 2022 created a disastrous situation for people living in different parts of Europe. The UK has invested a lot of money in producing electricity in recent years. The exports have also helped them to earn billions in return.

According to recent reports, the export figures have made the UK a net exporter of electricity for the first time in over a decade. The Electric Insights report has shown that in the three months to June 2022, 8% (5.5TWh) dozens of electricity generated by Britain has been exported abroad.

This is the largest amount on record since 2017. The United Kingdom has been making efforts to generate more electricity in their country due to the high exports. They might end up facing an energy deficit if they continue to export electricity to other countries.

Read More: Electricity Generation: Is the UK Self-Sufficient in This?

Energy Crisis In Europe Due To Ukraine War

The rise in power exports is the result of the Ukraine war. The continent has been facing an energy crisis which is amplified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This has resulted in major rises in the costs of wholesale gas. This situation has also been getting worse because the Russian invasion has disrupted various cities in Ukraine and has affected various sectors. This has resulted in reliability problems within France’s nuclear power stations.

Britain has been playing an important role in helping to keep the lights on across Europe. The European countries are facing an energy crisis due to the Ukraine-Russian war. The deepening energy crisis in Europe is the result of the invasion of Russia against the nearest neighbors of the UK.

Europe has been facing a long-term energy deficit now. Some supply problems could result in an economic crisis in various European countries. The export of electricity could result in an economic argument for Britain as this will require the country to step up its investment in power production. The UK needs to build an even bigger trade surplus because they need to protect their nation from damaging energy shortages.

One study has also showcased that Norway has been exporting more power than usual by using hydro reservoirs. This has highlighted an opportunity for the UK to improve its role in the global power market. The UK has turned out to be a great savior for several European countries. The energy export has helped European countries to stay lit even in the extreme energy crisis.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.