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Eurotunnel plans £217m electricity link with France

Eurotunnel has unveiled plans to build a £217 million electricity link through the Channel Tunnel.

The 500MW cable will connect Sellindge in Kent with the Les Mandarins substation near Coquelles, France, as part of attempts to bolster UK power supplies.

The project, which could take two years, will cost an estimated £217m with Eurotunnel owning 49 per cent and infrastructure-focused fund manager Star Capital owning 51 per cent.

Concerns have been growing over the security of future UK electricity supplies because of an EU commitment to generate 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Wind power is seen as key to hitting that target but it has proved a volatile source, largely due to difficulties predicting when and where the wind will blow.

The proposed Eurotunnel interconnector cable will help to smooth out supply volatility relating to offshore wind power, meaning energy generated from places where the wind is blowing can be shared around.

Eurotunnel had a fire in one of its tunnels in 2008 but project leaders said there was no risk to travellers as the cables will be 10cm wide and heavily insulated, while laying it in the service tunnel will make maintenance easier.

As well as this interconnector - called ElecLink - there are eight other interconnectors planned between the UK and parts of Europe, which could handle over 6,000MW.

If it proves successful, the size of the ElecLink cable could be doubled at a further cost of hundreds of millions of pounds.

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