The EU is to provide over Ecu4m to support construction of an undersea electricity link between the Netherlands and Norway, the European Commission announced yesterday. The NorNed cable project has been under development for several years and is due to begin operation by 2001. Expected environmental benefits from the project were a key reason for providing EU funding, the Commission said. At 580km long, the cable will be more than double the length of the existing record-holder, which links Sweden and Germany. It will be used mainly to carry surplus Norwegian hydropower to the Netherlands, with the possibility of exporting Dutch fossil fuel power in the other direction in particularly dry years. Assured supplies of cheaper electricity is the main aim for both countries, but the project is also expected to cut polluting emissions in the Netherlands. By contributing peak-time power to the Dutch grid and enabling greater use of combined heat and power, the cable is expected to avoid 1.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, or 1% of the national total, according to Sep, the project's Dutch partner. EU funding for the project is to be provided under the Trans-European Networks (TENs) programme and marks the first time the Commission has given TENs funding for energy rather than transport projects. Funding of Ecu2.3m was also announced yesterday for an electricity cable linking Sweden and Poland.
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