Ofgem Gives Its Blessing to Scotland-Norway Interconnector

Ofgem has approved a 650km long subsea interconnector between Norway and Scotland, planned to be installed in 2021. 

On 20 June 2016, Ofgem granted an electricity interconnector licence to Norway-based company NorthConnect KS, authorising it to participate in the operation of the NorthConnect KS interconnector.

NorthConnect is a joint venture between five companies, established to develop, build, own and operate the HVDC link, including SSE and Vattenfall, each owning a 25% stake. The other 50% is held by Norwegian companies Agder Energi, E-CO and Lyse.

The interconnector will improve security of supply both in Norway in dry years, and in Great Britain in periods with negative power balance (low wind, low solar, high demand, etc.).

The NorthConnect scheme was, in 2013, designated as a Project of Common Interest within the legal framework of the European Union and European Economic Area (EEA), of which Norway is also a signatory state.

Commenting on news that Ofgem has approved the interconnector, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “If the UK and the rest of Europe are to move to a 100 per cent renewable future then greater use of interconnectors is a sensible way forward.

“Sharing different renewable resources between nations would help drive down climate emissions much faster than relying on domestic action alone. However, it shouldn’t be an excuse for any country to halt the development their own renewable capacity.

“A European-wide ‘supergrid’ would also bring the double benefits of security of supply and a reduced need to build lots of expensive new nuclear or fossil fuel power stations.”

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