Main contractors selected to build 600MW Shetland HVDC link in UK

WCN Editorial Team 4 Aug 2020 EUROPE ENERGY & UTILITIES

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Transmission has appointed a joint venture of Siemens BAM, along with three other contractors, for the construction of the 600MW Shetland HVDC link to transmit energy from Shetland Islands to Great Britain.

Siemens BAM will lead the work on the high voltage direct current (HVDC) link. Other contractors selected by SSEN include marine cables-producer NKT, BAM Nuttall to provide civil engineering services and Hitachi ABB Power Grids to supply and commission the HVDC converter system.

The contracts follow SSEN securing final approval for the 600MW Shetland HVDC link from the UK energy regulator Ofgem.

The HVDC link includes the construction of an AC Substation at Kergord on Shetland, which will receive power from the renewable energy projects located on Shetland Islands.

The power will be converted from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) at a HVDC converter station, also at Kergord, before it is transmitted nearly 270km via underground and subsea cable (257km) to a HVDC Switching Station at Noss Head, Caithness, in the north of Scotland.

The received power will then be transmitted via the Caithness Moray HVDC link before it is converted back to AC, to be further transmitted to meet the electricity needs of homes and businesses across the north of Scotland and beyond.

SSEN Transmission offshore delivery director Sandy Mactaggart said: “We are delighted to have finalised contracts with our supply chain partners for the Shetland HVDC link, building on the experience and strong track record we have collectively established over recent years following the construction and operation of the Caithness Moray link.

“All four contractors are leading specialists in their field, building the high quality and reliable infrastructure required to meet Shetland’s future energy needs and contribute to UK and Scottish net zero targets.

“The Shetland HVDC link will deliver substantial socio-economic and environmental benefits to Shetland’s, Scotland’s and the UK’s economy, supporting hundreds of skilled jobs in the process as part of the green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“With all major milestones complete, we now look forward to working closely with the Shetland and Caithness communities and other stakeholders throughout the construction and future operation of these critical national infrastructure assets.”

While enabling works at Kergord and Noss Head by the end of this month, the full construction of the AC substation and HVDC convertor and switching stations are expected to begin in early 2021 and the subsea cable installation could take place in 2022 and 2023. It will be followed by energisation and commissioning in 2024.

Nearly 250 jobs could be created during the peak construction period.

BAM Nuttall CEO Adrian Savory said: “BAM is delighted to continue our collaborative relationship with SSEN Transmission on this project in Shetland, which has such strategic national importance.

“We look forward working closely with SSEN Transmission, ABB, NKT, and Siemens. And we’re excited to be providing infrastructure that contributes to Scottish net-zero targets and boosts the local economies in both Shetland and Caithness.”

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The HVDC link will help bring more renewable energy to the UK. (Credit: SSE.)

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