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Delivering a subsea superhighway of electricity transmission

SSEN Transmission welcomes today’s publication of Ofgem’s consultation on the assessment of plans submitted by all three GB onshore electricity Transmission Owners (TOs) for the strategic and timely development of the first two of a series of planned subsea electricity transmission HVDC links connecting Scotland and England along the east coast.

The initial two links are essential to alleviate constraints on the GB transmission system, enabling growth in renewable electricity and supporting the transition to net zero emissions.  They will also support hundreds of green jobs throughout construction and operation, playing a key role in the green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Work to progress each of the 2GW links will now split into two projects.  The Peterhead to Selby link, which has a targeted energisation date of 2029, will be progressed jointly by SSEN Transmission and National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET); and the Torness to Hawthorn Pit link, with a targeted energisation date of 2027, will be progressed jointly by SP Energy Networks and NGET.

The three TOs will now consider the detail of Ofgem’s consultation and will work to address the issues raised in advance of Final Needs Case submission later this year.

Commenting on the consultation, Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission, said:

“We welcome Ofgem’s recognition of the need for these investments, which are critical to support the delivery of the UK and Scottish Government’s 2030 offshore wind targets and the transition to net zero emissions.

“For every year these links are not in place we risk wasting hundreds of millions of pounds of GB consumers money in constraint payments. It is therefore essential that everyone works hard to ensure there are no delays to the delivery of this critical national infrastructure.

“We now look forward to working constructively with Ofgem and other stakeholders to unlock the investment required, in a timely manner, to build the first phase of an underwater superhighway of electricity transmission.”

To further support the forecast growth in renewables, particularly offshore wind and the UK and Scottish Government’s 2030 targets of 40GW and 11GW respectively, a second series of HVDC links from Scotland to England is also planned.

As part of the UK Government’s Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR), the three TOs are working with Government, Ofgem, the GB Electricity System Operator (ESO) and wider industry to help accelerate the significant investment in transmission infrastructure required to deliver a pathway to these 2030 targets.


About SSEN Transmission:

  • SSEN Transmission, operating as Scottish Hydro Electric (SHE) Transmission under licence and part of the SSE Group; owns, operates and develops the high voltage electricity transmission system in the north of Scotland and remote islands.
  • SSEN’s strategic priority is to enable the transition to a low carbon economy through building the transmission infrastructure necessary to connect and transport renewable energy.
  • Since the start of the current price control period, RIIO-T1, in April 2013, SSEN Transmission has invested over £3bn in the north of Scotland transmission system, supporting the growth of renewable energy across the region which has increased from 3.3GW to over 6.5GW as at 30 September 2020.
  • SSE, alongside National Grid and Scottish Power, are the leading energy sponsors of this year’s COP26 – https://www.sse.com/news-and-views/2020/11/power-firms-unite-to-deliver-underwater-energy-super-highway/
  • Caption for images – NKT Victoria, specialist cable laying vessel used on the Caithness-Moray link – others as labelled
  • Ofgem’s consultation on the Initial Needs Case can be found via the following: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/eastern-hvdc-consultation-project-s-initial-needs-case-and-initial-thinking-its-suitability-competition