LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - Britain and Belgium's electricity network operators plan to open the first power interconnector between the two countries by 2018, National Grid said on Wednesday.
The 1,000-megawatt (MW) cable will transport electricity in both directions and connect Richborough in Kent and Zeebrugge in Belgium, which at 130 kilometres is the shortest distance between mainland Britain and Belgium.
"We are still at early stages of the project but (...)interconnectors are going to have an important role in making sure the country has security of supply and bringing about a competitive European electricity market," said National Grid's Business Development Manager Kevin Lee.
Britain is already connected to continental Europe through the 2,000-MW French IFA interconnector and the 1,000-MW BritNed cable, which opened in April 2011.
Interconnectors can play an important role in balancing Britain's energy market when much more intermittend and unpredicatble renewable energy feeds into the market, a National Grid manager said on Tuesday.