Kent's new electricity cable connection with Europe
The first new electricity cable to be laid for 25 years linking the UK and European grids has been opened.
The £530m cable links the Isle of Grain in Kent to Maasflakte near Rotterdam.
The 1000 MW link is operated by BritNed, a joint venture between National Grid and TenneT, the Dutch transmission system operator.
The connection will enable the integration of electricity generated by UK and European wind farms into the European and UK grids.
'Pressure on prices'
Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, took part in the opening ceremony at the BritNed site on the Isle of Grain.
He said: "It plugs the UK directly into a wider European electricity market, allowing us to import our peak needs cheaply rather than hold expensive plant in readiness.
"Renewables win as it means surplus wind power can be easily shared.
"Consumers win as a single European market puts pressure on prices."
This is the first electricity connection between UK and Europe in since the commissioning of the IFA link with France 25 years ago.