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Underwater cable to deliver renewable power from Scotland to England

Three companies – SSE, ScottishPower and National Grid – are developing plans to deliver an underwater electric ‘super-highway’ that will see the North Sea become the hidden powerhouse of Europe.

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, setting off from two separate points in Scotland; Peterhead and Torness.

The cables will significantly increase the UK’s capacity for renewable power, enabling enough electricity for around four million homes to travel up to 440 km from the east of Scotland, down to two points in the north-east of England, Selby and Hawthorn Point. The east coast of Scotland is already home to almost 1 GW of operational offshore wind farms, with a further 4.4 GW in the pipeline and more to follow.

Survey works along the route have recently commenced, say the companies, with construction works currently expected to take place from 2024.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, said: ‘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.’

Meanwhile, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult is urging the offshore wind sector to sign up to a new data collection platform that aims to vastly reduce subsea cable failures. The ELECTRODE project will track cable failure trends and service downtime, as well as the effectiveness of current methods of monitoring, detection and response.

Subsea cable failures account for the single biggest insurance cost for the industry, making up three-quarters of claims in the UK, says the ORE Catapult. It can take an average of two months to repair a failed cable, costing more than £10mn in costs and lost power generation.

To date, efforts to reduce failures have been hampered by a lack of available data. The ELECTRODE initiative will collect data anonymously while allowing trend analysis to develop. Ten offshore wind industry players are already signed up to the programme, together with an insurance group that covers offshore wind assets.

News Item details

Journal title: Energy World

Countries: Scotland -

Organisation: ScottishPower|National Grid|Scottish and Southern Energy Plc

Subjects: Cable,

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