Europe lends UK $2.4bn towards its electricity bill

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to a $2.4bn improvement loan to Britain’s National Grid for improvements to infrastructure.  

The funding, which is the bank’s largest ever single loan, will go towards connecting new power generators, upgrading ageing assets and improving the network resilience in the face of threats from the climate and sabotage. 

The EIB-backed programme will include extra protection against floods, which can prove a serious threat to the substations that step down high-voltage transmission lines, and provide additional substation capacity to deal with offshore wind farms and new links with continental Europe, from which the UK currently imports about a quarter of its electricity. 

Jonathan Taylor, an EIB vice president, said: "Investment in the UK electricity transmission network is essential to prepare for future demand, connect new sources of renewable energy and upgrade old facilities.  

"This agreement, the largest ever single loan to be provided by the EIB, reflects both the scale of energy investment needed and National Grid’s own experience in implementing such a diverse capital investment programme." 

Since 2009, the EIB has provided $9bn for investment in energy infrastructure including electricity distribution, offshore transmission links, energy efficiency, interconnectors to the continent and wind farms. 

Over the past five years the bank has provided nearly $35bn for investment in UK infrastructure including transport, social housing, hospital, water, schools and universities.

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