Jude Kirton-Darling Labour Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the North East, this week voted in favour of a report promoting the development of new interconnectors between European nations to reduce electricity prices, increase energy security and promote the distribution of renewable energy. Such a project could also create thousands of permanent, high skilled, well paid jobs, in the North East.
The Eriksson Report, named after the draftsman, recommends a wide range of measures to increase interconnectivity between EU Members States and neighbouring nations. These recommendations included ambitious targets for interconnection, improvement of national grid networks, targeting of areas which are currently lacking connection and allocation of funds for projects.
The report had a particular focus on the North Sea, which is seen as a region which will benefit the most economically from the creation of new interconnectors. The report notes that the creation of a North Sea Electricity Grid could save consumers and business up to €13 billion per year by 2020.
There are plans for interconnectors to be constructed between the UK and many other European nations including France, Belgium, Ireland and Iceland amongst others. One of the planned interconnector, that between the UK and Norway, will land at East Sleekburn in Northumberland.
Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East of England, speaking from Brussels said
"Today's vote in the Industry and Energy Committee was an important step forward. The creation of an integrated North Sea Energy Grid offers many opportunities for the UK and particularly for the North East of England."
"Not only will we be able to secure our energy supplies and accelerate our transition to a low carbon future, we will be able to create thousands of well-paid, permanent jobs in the North East of England."
"Local business and consumers will also benefit from lower energy prices."