French interconnector restart in October and December 2022, says National Grid; Ventures business profit to jump despite outage

National Grid expects to return its IFA interconnector with France back in full service in two stages, it said in its half-year results statement. One of the interconnector’s two 1000MW links was shut down after a fire at the convertor station in Sellindge, Kent, in September. Now the company has confirmed it plans to bring 500MW back to service from October 2022 and 500MW from December 2022.
Regarding its other interconnectors, National Grid said IFA2 and NEMO availabilities have been at 85% and 98%, respectively, in the half year. BritNed availability fell to 62%, compared to 96% in the prior period, driven principally by a cable fault in March 2021 with the link returning to full service in June.
The interconnectors are part of National Grid Ventures (NGV), which operates in competitive markets across the UK and the US. The business comprises commercial operations in LNG at the Isle of Grain, electricity generation in the US, electricity interconnectors and National Grid Renewables Development LLC (formerly Geronimo.
The company said it expected underlying operating profit in the NGV business to be higher year-on-year. IFA2’s full-year contribution for 2021/22 (£42 million after starting operations in January 2021), the addition of North Sea Link operations from October 2021, and the increase in auction prices across the interconnector portfolio are expected to help lift operating profit for NGV by £100 million. Along with other increases including commercial property, and the Grain LNG terminal where utilisation was up 14% up (mainly driven by “unseasonable high utilisation in Q1 of FY22, largely as a result of high and rising gas prices”) ‘NGV and Other’ operating profit is expected to increase by around £200 million, up from £118 million in ‘NGV and Other’ estimated operating profit for the year to 31 March 2021.
NGV expects to invest £2-3 billion over the next five years in completing the interconnector programme, additional investment in the Grain LNG terminal and in US renewable generation. It also said it expects disposal of a majority stake in National Grid Gas, including the UK transmission and legacy metering business, within the next 12 months.
The company also signalled an efficiency programme intended to reduce costs across the business by £400 million (excluding the distribution businesses).

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