12/04/2012 06:23 BST | Updated 12/06/2012 06:12 BST

Icelandic Volcanoes Could Power UK If European Power Grid Succeeds

Britain could one day be powered by volcanoes, if a new plan to tap the power of Iceland's geothermal energy gets off the ground.

Iceland has the potential to generate huge volumes of low-carbon power through its active range of volcanoes.

Now the energy minister Charles Hendry is visiting the country in May to discuss the feasibility of laying thousands of miles of high voltage cable to the country, in order to transfer the energy to the UK.

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper Hendry said: "We are in active discussions with the Icelandic government and they are very keen."

The 1000-1,5000km cables - the longest in the world by some distance - would form one part of a hugely ambitious project to link the UK to Europe and North Africa to ensure a clean supply of reliable energy for the future.

The UK has always generated the vast majority of its own power, but concerns about the supply of North Sea oil and an ageing nuclear infrastructure have led the government to look overseas for new supplies.

The eventual, and at this point mostly theoretical, 'super grid' could combine wind and wave power in northern Europe with solar energy generated in Africa and southern Europe.

The UK currently has two inter-connectors to France and the Netherlands, but the government is planning at least nine others.

A new connector between Ireland and Wales will open in the autumn, and another is currently in progress linking the north-east of England to Norway.

Supporters of the project argue it will help to keep bills down by providing alternative and competing sources of energy.