Massive undersea cables are expected to connect the United Kingdom with Germany, creating the world’s first direct energy link

As countries around the world strive to shore up their energy supply in the wake of the ongoing situation in Ukraine, key contracts worth over $1.95 billion (£1.5 billion) have been given for a large interconnector project that would link Germany and the United Kingdom, according to the Financial Times.

The NeuConnect program is centered on subsea cables that will allow 1.4 gigawatts of power to flow in both directions between Europe’s two major economies, the United Kingdom and Germany. The interconnector is 725 kilometers long, or little more than 450 miles.

The privately-funded NeuConnect project has been branded an “invisible energy highway” and touted as “the first direct connection between German and the UK energy markets.”

The contracts awarded are for cable installation and converter stations. Siemens Energy was given the deal for the latter, which would include the design and building of locations in Germany and the United Kingdom, according to NeuConnect.

According to the NeuConnect project, the interconnector will allow Britain to “plug into Germany’s extensive energy infrastructure, particularly its major renewable energy sources.”

“The new link with the United Kingdom will help reduce existing bottlenecks where the wind turbines are regularly powered-down due to a large amount of renewable energy being created,” Germany says.

According to a release, NeuConnect’s financial closing is expected in the “coming weeks,” allowing construction to begin in 2022.

The initiative has been in the pipeline for some time, but its advancement coincides with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has exposed how dependent some countries are on Russian fossil energy.

While the conflict in Ukraine has caused global division and tension, it has also led to a series of projects based on cooperation and common goals.

For example, the United States and the European Commission recently released a joint statement on power security in which they revealed the formation of a joint task group on the topic.

The sides agreed that the US would “strive to ensure” that the EU receives a minimum of 15 billion cubic meters of more liquefied natural gas this year. They also predicted that this number would rise in the future.

President Joe Biden stated that the US and EU would “work together to take meaningful actions to minimize reliance on natural gas — era — and to maximize… renewable energy availability and utilization.”

NeuConnect isn’t the only project aimed at connecting the United Kingdom to the rest of Europe.

A 450-mile underwater cable connecting the United Kingdom and Norway began commercial operations last year, allowing the two countries to share renewable energy.

The North Sea Link, as it’s known, aims to combine Norway’s hydropower with the United Kingdom’s wind energy resources.

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