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E.C. clears National Grid, TenneT U.K.-Dutch electricity cable

Aug 6, 2007 - MarketWatch.com - Adam Cohen

The European Commission Monday cleared U.K. power grid operator National Grid PLC and its Dutch counterpart TenneT to build a 1,000 megawatt electricity cable linking the two countries.

The link, known as BritNed, will cost EUR600 million and start operating in 2010.

The cross-border power link is the type of project regulators say is crucial to creating a well-functioning European Union-wide power market. A lack of grid connections across the bloc has limited competition among power companies, keeping prices high. Limited cross-border links also contributed to a major blackout in several E.U. states last November, regulators say.

BritNed will be built by ABB Ltd. ABB, which will lay two cables a few meters beneath the seabed, and Siemens AG SI, which will build power converting stations in the U.K. and the Netherlands. The cable will run 260 kilometers from the Isle of Grain in Kent, southeast England, to Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The commission cleared the joint venture under its simplified procedure. This clears deals automatically after one month if no customer or competitors complains.

(James Herron and Alex MacDonald in London contributed to this article.) -Contact: 201-938-5400