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(SeeNews) - Sep 22, 2011 - While a "supergrid" to connect the UK's electricity system with neighbouring countries could be very costly to develop, it could provide many economic benefits, including the creation of tens of thousands of offshore renewable jobs, according to MPs.
The parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee on Thursday released its report on European supergrid, according to which such an infrastructure could make the UK a net exporter of energy and would also cut the cost of connecting each new offshore energy farm by 25%.
Tim Yeo, chair of the committee, warned that if the UK continued to develop its vast offshore renewable energy resources site by site, the cost of individual connections would become prohibitive.
"Developing an integrated and interconnected offshore network would allow us to tap these huge resources cost-efficiently and prepare the ground for a future European supergrid – if it is necessary and feasible in future," he said.
A supergrid would allow the UK to balance supply and demand by exporting or importing electricity whenever needed, an important issue given the growing use of intermittent renewables.
Offshore networks can also bring power where it is consumed, the committee says, and limit the impact of new transmission on the countryside.
The report said that the government should act urgently if an offshore grid to link up renewable farms and interconnect with other countries was to be created, but cautioned that as the infrastructure would be very expensive it should first analyse carefully the costs against the benefits.