Secretary of State denies Development Consent for AQUIND

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 20/01/2022 4C Offshore

Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has made the decision to refuse the approval of Development Consent Order (DCO) for the
AQUIND Interconnector project.

In a document outlining his refusal of the DCO, the Secretary of State noted that alternatives with regards to the project's urban landfall and substation locations had not been adequately considered and on that basis it is not possible to conclude whether the need for and benefits of the proposed development would outweigh its impacts.

AQUIND was a proposed subsea and underground high voltage direct current power transmission link between the South Coast of England and Normandy in France. With a capacity of 2 GW, AQUIND was designed to boost the security of supply, help foster renewable power integration and provide each nation's grids with ancillary services. Over the course of a year, the project was expected to allow the transmission of 16 TWh.

The refusal follows a number of delayed decision deadlines from the Secretary of State. The original deadline for the decision on the AQUIND Interconnector application was 8 September 2021. This deadline was previously extended to 21 October 2021. The Secretary of State then decided to push the decision back even further and set a new deadline of 21 January 2022.

Commenting on the decision, a spokesperson for AQUIND said: “We are naturally disappointed that our application has been refused, despite the existing Government policy promoting the development of new interconnectors and the benefits the project would bring, which are acknowledged in the decision of the Secretary of State. We draw attention to the recommendation by the apolitical, independent Examining Authority that found strongly in favour of AQUIND Interconnector.”

“We disagree with the decision of the Secretary of State, and the rationale behind it. We are considering the decision, the grounds for the refusal, and a potential legal challenge (Judicial Review). We believe our application for a Development Consent Order to be accurate and robust, and it has met all the requirements. We will continue the development of AQUIND Interconnector, and we will be engaging with the relevant parties in the coming weeks.”

“With the ability to transmit up to 5% of Great Britain’s annual electricity consumption – enough to power nearly 5m British homes – AQUIND Interconnector will help reduce the impact of volatile gas and coal prices, which have caused electricity bills to increase this autumn and winter. By reducing the price of energy in the UK, AQUIND Interconnector will save individuals and families several billion pounds over the first 25 years of its operation. The interconnector will help integrate a greater proportion of non-fossil fuel energy sources and intermittent renewables into the GB energy mix, helping meet the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target by reducing CO2 emissions by 40-70 million tonnes over 25 years.”

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