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665km North Sea interconnector set for approval

3115003 cable cropped

A project to construct an interconnector between Scotland and Norway is expected to be formally approved this week.  

The 665 km interconnector named NorthConnect will have a 1400MW capacity and will run from Simadalen in Norway, across the North Sea to Long Haven Bay, just south of Peterhead in Scotland.  

Aberdeen Council is expected to rubber stamp the job, after a local planning committee approved the application. 

High voltage direct current (HVDC) cables will be used for the undersea portion of the interconnector, as this reduces transmission losses along the link by avoiding the heavy currents required. National Grid operates on alternating-current (AC) so transformer stations will be built at either end of the HVDC cable.  

There will be a transformer at the Peterhead substation with similar infrastructure at the Norwegian landfall at Sima at the end of Hardangerfjord. 

The interconnector will link hydro-electric power in Norway, with National Grid wind farms in Scotland.  

The project has already been approved by the Buchan Area Committee and will be ruled on by Aberdeen Council on Thursday. 

Speaking to the Buchan Area Committee in December, NorthConnect UK permitting lead Fiona Henderson told the committee that while the project needs no public funding, the public will will benefit from the interconnector.  

“This application is important for the local area. We have carried out an environmental impact assessment to make sure we get it right and have put a lot of work into selecting the route,” she told the committee.  

“We have worked closely with the planning department and Marine Scotland to ensure we have a high-quality development… that when complete, will provide electricity for both Norway and the UK, providing more renewables on the grid. The project is being undertaken with no public money, but the public will benefit.” 

NorthConnect will enable energy trading between Scotland and Europe and will ensure security of supply for customers in both countries and stabilise energy prices for customers.  

The project was designated a project of comment interest by the European Union in 2013 – meaning it is important for the EU to reach its clean energy targets.  

NorthConnect is jointly owned by Swedish energy group Vattenfall and three Norwegian companies, E-CO Energi, Agder Energi and Lyse.

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