The project

The Western Link will bring renewable energy from Scotland to homes and businesses in England and Wales.

In the UK, electricity is normally generated, transmitted, distributed and consumed as alternating current (AC). Direct current (DC) is not so widely used and to date has been applied in a small number of projects.

The Western Link uses DC technology to reinforce the existing UK transmission system and move electricity across the country in very large volumes.

In addition to installing a new high voltage connection, we needed to convert the DC electricity to AC at each end of the link so that it can be used within the existing electricity transmission system. To do this, we needed to build a converter station at each end of the link.

We needed to transfer around 2,200MW of power across several hundred kilometres to link the transmission network in Scotland with that in England and Wales, and a subsea marine HVDC cable is the best method of doing this because:

  • It provides the most efficient and economic solution (in many cases the use of HVDC technology is relatively expensive and not efficient)
  • DC circuits can transmit power more efficiently over long distances, on fewer cables than equivalent AC circuits
  • The use of DC transmission makes long-distance subsea cable technically possible
  • Subsea cables can be installed relatively quickly, with minimal disruption to local communities

Whilst electrical power is often expected to flow from north to south, the Western Link is bi-directional in that power can also be made to flow in the opposite direction according to future electricity supply and demand requirements.

To find out more about the various aspects of the project, please use the links on the left of the page.

View documents relating to the project.