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SSEN takes step forward with plans for ‘subsea superhighway’ between Scotland and England

The HVDC link will have a capacity of 2GW. Image: SSE.

The HVDC link will have a capacity of 2GW. Image: SSE.

SSEN Transmission has submitted a Final Needs Case (FNC) to Ofgem for the first of its “subsea superhighways”, which connect the north of Scotland and England.

Being developed as a joint venture with National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), the 2GW link is expected to be energised in 2029 and cost around £2.1 billion.

Running from Peterhead in north east Scotland to Yorkshire (Drax) on the east coast of England, the project will help alleviate constraints on the GB transmission system. This will enable further renewables to be rolled out, support hundreds of green jobs, aid a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and help support the transition to net zero.

Currently, hundreds of millions of pounds of consumer money is paid out in constraint payments to electricity generators that are unable to export to the grid due to constraints.

Rob McDonald, managing director of SSEN Transmission, said: "Submission of the Final Needs Case for the East Coast HVDC link from Peterhead to Selby marks a key milestone in our collective net zero ambitions. In all credible future energy scenarios, it is beyond question that this link is required to alleviate current and future constraints on the GB transmission system."

SSEN has said a clear commitment to the investment will enable early supply chain engagement, and called for an early decision on the FNC to allow a competitive tender process in 2022.

A project assessment will follow an approved FNC, which will determine the level of investment. The East Coast HVDC link is part of the wider SSE Group’s Net Zero Acceleration Programme, which is looking to invest £12.5 billion in the five years to 2026. This is the equivalent of £7 million a day, and SSEN Transmission will invest £4 billion during this period.

Following on from the East Coast HVDC link, SSEN is planning a second HVDC link from Peterhead to England to support the growth of renewables, particularly offshore wind.

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