UK's National Grid says fire at French-UK power connection site extinguished

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FILE PHOTO: The sun rises behind electricity pylons near Chester

(Reuters) - Britain's National Grid said a fire at its IFA interconnector site in Sellindge in Kent, part of the connector that links the French and British power grids, was extinguished on Thursday.

"We are completely focused on getting IFA safely returned to service as soon as possible," the grid said in an update on its website https://www.nationalgrid.com/incidents.

"We are in discussions with the UK electricity system operator (ESO) and our European partners to ensure we optimise upcoming planned pre-winter outages of our other interconnectors to support UK security of supply," it said.

The IFA2 interconnector, a second link between Britain and France commissioned in 2020, is operating at full capacity. BritNed and Nemo Link interconnectors are also operating at full capacity, the grid said.

National Grid has four operational interconnectors – two to France (IFA and IFA2), one to the Netherlands (BritNed) and one to Belgium (Nemo Link).

On Wednesday, National Grid said the fire would mean 1 gigawatts, or half of capacity, would remain offline until 27 March 2022.

"We are also in the process of commissioning North Sea Link, our latest interconnector to Norway, to provide additional capacity next month - ahead of the winter period," the grid added.

(Reporting by Arpan Varghese and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair, William Maclean)

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