HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 c1214W
Mr. Tynan

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effect of ghost capacity in the importation of gas and electricity. [R] [147517]

Mr. Timms

I understand that my hon. Friend is referring to electricity interconnection with France.

According to the January 2004 update to national grid's "Seven Year Statement", the England and Wales plant margin (i.e. the excess of total generating capacity over winter peak demand) in 2003–04 is 21.6 per cent. This figure includes the 2GW Anglo-French electricity interconnector out of a total generating capacity of around 68GW.

The 2004–05 and 2005–06 plant margins in England and Wales are currently projected to be 22.7 per cent. and 22.3 per cent. respectively. Under these circumstances, the French interconnector would account for a lower share of the plant margin than at present.

The interconnector therefore makes a significant contribution to total generating capacity in England and Wales at times of winter peak demand.