SSE, National Grid, and ScottishPower have started work to develop a multi-billion pound underwater super-highway expected to turn the North Sea into the hidden powerhouse of Europe.
Subsea surveys have started on the Eastern Link project which will see the world’s longest subsea high voltage direct current (HVDC) cables with a combined capacity of up to 4 GW.
The project is expected to bring in investment of over GBP 3 billion, supporting hundreds of green jobs throughout construction and operation, the developers said.
The two 2 GW cables will enable enough electricity for around 4.5 million homes to travel up to 440 kilometres from Peterhead and Torness in the east of Scotland, a hub for offshore renewables, down to two points Selby and Hawthorn Point in the north-east of England.
“This project will help transport enough renewable electricity for around 4.5 million homes across the UK and will become part of the backbone of the UK’s energy system,” Nicola Shaw, UK Executive Director at National Grid, said.
”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.”
Construction works are expected to take place from 2024.
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 up to 10 GW predicted following the outcome of the next Scottish offshore wind leasing round, ScotWind.
“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 40GW offshore wind target by 2030 and critical to our own commitment to build a network for net zero emissions,” Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, said.
ScottishPower, SSE, and national Grid have also been confirmed as major partners of the UN’s COP26 climate change event to be held in Glasgow in 2021.
“We firmly believe the UK can achieve its ambitious Net Zero targets but it must be done through investment and innovation in essential projects like the Eastern Link, providing benefits for customers and society in the long term,” Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower, said.
NOTE: The original article has been amended.