Japanese start building UK's first HVDC cable factory

Japanese Start Building UK’s First HVDC Cable Factory

Japan-headquartered Sumitomo Electric has kicked off the construction of its subsea cable factory in Scotland, set to supply critical elements for the reinforcement of the UK electricity transmission grid and for connecting renewable energy production facilities to the grid.

Sumitomo Electric held the groundbreaking ceremony together with its subsidiary Sumitomo Electric UK Power Cables on 14 May at the Port of Nigg, where the new subsea cable factory is being built, with commissioning expected in 2026.

With an investment value announced by the Scottish Government of GBP 350 million, the factory is expected to make a significant contribution towards the realization of the UK Net Zero Target by contributing to critical electricity transmission infrastructure to connect and deliver renewable energy, including offshore wind, to UK consumers and beyond, and is set to create more than 150 highly skilled jobs in the Scottish Highlands.

Sumitomo Electric placed a multi-million-pound order with THREE60 Energy for cable storage carousels for the power cable factory.

“Scotland is a green energy powerhouse, and it is fantastic that Sumitomo Electric Industries will build the cable in the Scottish Highlands, creating hundreds more jobs and building up the local supply chain. Since 2010, we have delivered a five-fold increase in renewable power, the second highest amount in Europe, and connecting more renewable energy to the grid will allow the British public to benefit from cheaper clean power,” said Justin Tomlinson, Energy Security and Net Zero Minister.

On the day of the event, SSEN Transmission announced the selection of Sumitomo Electric and its project partner Van Oord as the preferred bidder for the Shetland 2 525 kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cable project – representing an anchor project enabling construction work to commence.

Shetland 2 will connect 330 kilometres between Shetland and mainland to bring 2 GW of renewable electricity to Great Britain’s network, which forms part of the latest strategic transmission network plan “Beyond 2030” where a total of GBP 5 billion investment by SSEN is expected in the north of Scotland by 2035.

In addition to helping enable the connection of three ScotWind offshore wind farm sites adjacent to Shetland, the energy link will support decarbonization and energy security ambitions, alongside helping further secure Shetland’s future electricity needs.

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Contractual negotiations will continue before entering into capacity reservation agreements and thereafter, contract award status for the Shetland 2 scheme later this year.

“Scotland is fast becoming a renewable energy powerhouse. Today’s ceremony highlights this and is an excellent example of the public and private sectors working together to grow Scotland’s economy and protect our environment – key objectives of the Scottish Government,” said Màiri McAllan, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy.

“Backed with £24.5 million of public sector funding, this will be Sumitomo’s first cable factory in Europe and the first High Voltage Direct Current cable factory in the UK, creating hundreds of jobs.”

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