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Britain, Iceland discuss energy agreement

April 13, 2012 -

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, April 13 (UPI) -- British authorities say they are in talks that could see electricity generated in Iceland from the country's volcanoes and geysers powering British homes.

U.K. Energy Minister Charles Hendry will visit Iceland in May to negotiate an agreement to lay hundreds of miles of cables underwater to satisfy Britain's energy needs, Sky New Online reported Friday.

The cables, known as interconnectors, would carry energy harvested from Iceland's geothermal sources and could provide a third of Britain's average electricity demand, Hendry said.

"We are looking to a low carbon economy. I think the best way is to get a number of different interconnectors first," he said.

To reach Iceland the copper cables would need to be around 930 miles long, the longest such cables in the world.

Iceland is keen to export energy after suffering badly in the global financial crisis when all its major banks collapsed, experts said.

The idea of Icelandic interconnectors have been discussed for decades, and while they were always deemed too expensive, rising energy prices in Europe have now made it feasible, they said.

Iceland's geothermal energy prices would be negotiated on long-term contracts, Hendry said.

"We want to give consumers a clearer and more predictable idea of what they will have to pay," he said.

Britain currently has two international interconnectors with France and the Netherlands.