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Key undersea power project makes waves in Scotland

Words: Roger Milne
Submarine cable / Eduardo Sanchez

A subsea power cable that enables renewable energy from the north of Scotland to be fed into the National Grid has been completed on time, slightly under budget and has now been commissioned.

The Caithness-Moray link provides up to 1,200 megawatt (MW) of capacity to transmit power from an ever-increasing number of renewable energy projects climbing off the drawing board in the far north of the country.

The link uses so-called high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology to transmit power through a 113-kilometre subsea cable beneath the Moray Firth seabed between new converter stations at Spittal in Caithness and Blackhillock in Moray, the site of the UK’s largest electricity sub-station.  

Constructed over a period of four years, the scheme involved work at eight electricity substation sites and has also required two overhead electricity line reinforcement projects.

The infrastructure project is the largest single investment ever undertaken by the SSE Group, one of the UK’s largest energy companies. It represents the most significant investment in the north of Scotland electricity transmission system since the 1950s.

The link has already enabled turbines from the Beatrice offshore array and the Dorenell onshore wind farm to feed into the National Grid with another 100MW of onshore generation in Caithness and Ross-shire due to connect in the coming months.

Image credit | Eduardo Sanchez