Power firms to deliver underwater super-highway

17 November 2020

Three of the UK’s largest energy firms have confirmed that they are developing ambitious plans to deliver an underwater super-highway that will see the North Sea become the hidden power house of Europe.

The electric ‘super-highway’ will play a vital role in achieving net zero as all three power firms were confirmed today as major partners of the UN’s COP26 climate change event to be held in Glasgow in 2021.

The Eastern Link will be made up of some of the world’s longest subsea HVDC cables with a combined capacity of up to 4 GW. The multi-billion pound investment is expected to support hundreds of green jobs throughout construction and operation. The project will be led by SSE, ScottishPower and National Grid, setting off from two separate points in Scotland; Peterhead and Torness.

The cables will significantly increase the UK’s capacity for renewable power, enabling 4 GWe to be transported up to 440km from the east of Scotland, a hub for offshore renewables, down to two points in the north-east of England, Selby and Hawthorn Point.

The east coast of Scotland is already home to almost 1GW of operational offshore wind farms with a further 4.4 GW in the pipeline and up to 10 GW predicted following the outcome of the next Scottish offshore wind leasing round, Scotwind. Survey works along the route have recently commenced with construction works currently expected to take place from 2024.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO of SSE, commented: “The development of the East Coast link is one of the most exciting energy developments over recent decades and is essential to delivering the UK’s 40 GW offshore wind target by 2030 and critical to our own commitment to build a network for net zero emissions.

and supporting thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities.”

Nicola Shaw, UK executive director at National Grid, said: “This project will … become part of the backbone of the UK’s energy system. It’s a great example of companies working together on impressive engineering feats that will help the country hit its net zero carbon target by 2050.”

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