National Grid and ScottishPower have today announced the award of a £1bn contract to Siemens and cable manufacturer Prysmian to build the first ever sub sea electricity link between Scotland and England. The major grid upgrade will allow the connection of up to 6GW of renewable energy in Scotland.
The 420 km link will run from Hunterston in Ayrshire in Scotland to a landing point on the Wirral peninsula. The new circuit will enable large volumes of renewable wind and other generation to be transferred from Scotland to areas of higher demand in England.
The link will be the longest 2,200MW capacity HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) cable in the world. It will also be the first sub sea link ever using a DC voltage level of 600 kilovolts (kV). This will increase the link’s capacity and there will be lower transmission losses. It is planned to be fully operational by 2016.
Nick Winser, Executive Director at National Grid said:
“This link will have a vital role of play in meeting both the country’s energy needs and helping to address the problem of climate change. We are investing in an innovative solution using the most advanced technology. As a result, the benefits for consumers and electricity generators in being able to transport power in the most efficient way will be felt for years to come”
Ignacio Galán, Chairman of ScottishPower, said:
“The HVDC link is a major project in the context of a vital upgrading of the UK electricity grid over the coming years, with the electricity grid between Scotland and England already running close to maximum capacity. The additional capacity from this link will provide a significant boost to renewable energy projects that we are developing in Scotland in order to bring clean energy to consumers throughout the country and at the same time help meet carbon reduction targets.
“We are fully committed to playing our part in the government’s planned infrastructure development programme, and expect to invest a total of £2.6 billion between 2013-2021 on upgrading our transmission network in the UK. Overall, we are projecting investments totaling £12 billion in the UK over the course of this decade, including major offshore wind projects around the country.”
Work began on the project in 2009 after the Electricity Network Strategy Group, working on behalf of the Government, identified a number of transmission reinforcements needed to enable renewable energy to be connected and secure the UK’s energy supplies. The report said the HVDC subsea link would be the most appropriate way to ensure that the additional energy generated in Scotland could be transmitted to the rest of Britain because HVDC becomes more economic at longer distances.
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The Western Link project will include a converter station in Hunterston; 385km of subsea cable; 33km of underground cable on the Wirral; and a converter station in Deeside, North Wales.
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