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ScottishPower and National Grid Award Contracts to Deliver Major Electricity Grid Upgrade

16/02/2012

  • First ever subsea link between Scotland and England/Wales will increase flow of electricity by more than 2,000 megawatts (MW), and will be the longest 2,000 MW capacity High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cable in the world

  • The added capacity will allow grid access to 6GW of new renewable energy projects in Scotland that could power 3 million homes

  • The link will be the first major project under ScottishPower’s programme to upgrade its transmission network, recently fast-tracked by Ofgem and envisaging investments of up to £2.6 billion between 2013-2021 that will increase capacity from Scotland to England from 3.3 gigawatts (GW) to close to 7 GW by 2021

National Grid and ScottishPower Transmission have today announced the award of a £1bn contract to Siemens and cable manufacturer Prysmian to build the first ever sub-sea electricity link between Scotland and England/Wales. The major grid upgrade will increase the capacity of electricity flowing between England and Scotland by more than 2,000 megawatts (MW), allowing new renewable energy projects to be developed in Scotland that could power 3 million homes.

The announcement comes shortly after Ofgem agreed to fast track ScottishPower’s plans for transmission network upgrades between 2013 and 2021. The full £2.6bn investment over this period will increase capacity from Scotland to England from 3.3 gigawatts (GW) to close to 7GW by 2021.

Due to be operational by 2016, the 260 mile long high voltage cable link will run from Hunterston in Ayrshire to a landing point on the Wirral peninsula.  Subject to planning approvals, this new link will be one of the first major upgrades to be delivered as part of ScottishPower’s approved plans.

The link will be the longest high capacity HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) cable in the world.  It will also be the first sub-sea interconnector ever using DC voltage level of 600 kilovolts (Kv).  This will result in the link electricity capacity being increased and there will be lower transmission losses. It is also bi-directional, allowing electricity to flow north or south according to future supply and demand. This is an essential part of the UK’s strategic energy plan for an integrated electricity network.

Ignacio Galán, Chairman of ScottishPower, said:

“The HVDC link is a major project in the context of a vital upgrading of the UK electricity grid over the coming years, with the electricity grid between Scotland and England already running close to maximum capacity. The additional capacity from this link will provide a significant boost to renewable energy projects being developed in Scotland in order to bring clean energy to consumers throughout the country and at the same time help meet carbon reduction targets.

“We are fully committed to playing our part in the government’s planned infrastructure development programme, and expect to invest a total of £2.6 billion between 2013-2021 on upgrading our transmission network in the UK. Overall, we are projecting investments totalling £12 billion in the UK over the course of this decade, including major offshore wind projects around the country.”

Frank Mitchell CEO of SP Energy Networks said:

“This project has been under development for over 3 years and the deployment of this technology at such a large scale is leading edge. It will create a benchmark for future projects both in the UK and globally and will help connect existing renewable projects that are waiting to be linked into the grid.”

Last week energy regulator Ofgem fast tracked ScottishPower’s plans to invest £2.6 bn in the transmission network between 2013 and 2021. The investments will deliver the most important upgrades to the electricity network in central and southern Scotland for more than 50 years. The company’s proposals are designed to help achieve European carbon reduction targets and provide a platform for further innovation.

Notes to Editors:

ScottishPower recently reached agreement with energy regulator Ofgem to fund an investment plan totalling £2.6 billion pounds over the 8-year period from 2013 to 2021 that will see the creation of up to 1,500 jobs in Scotland.  The company’s plans have been fast tracked for approval by Ofgem, who have agreed a 4.5% rate of return on investment over the period.

Under Ofgem’s RIIO T1 process, ScottishPower recently submitted a detailed plan outlining its investment priorities up to 2021 in order to deliver the most important upgrades to the electricity network in central and southern Scotland for more than 50 years. The company’s proposals are designed to help achieve European carbon reduction targets and provide a platform for further innovation. A key element of the plans are the connection of offshore and onshore wind generation in Scotland of around 11 GW - enough to power over 6 million homes.

The £2.6 billion investment will deliver:

  • Creation of up to 1,500 new jobs in the ScottishPower Transmission licence area
  • Connection of offshore and onshore wind generation in Scotland of around 11 GW (enough to power over 6 million homes)
  • Over £2 billion in reduced carbon emissions (equivalent to 45 million tonnes of CO2)
  • Increase in export capacity from Scotland to England from 3.3 GW to close to 7GW by 2021
  • Reduce constraint costs to the UK consumer by £1.7 billion
  • Renewal and replacement of over 15% of our existing substation assets
  • Replacement of around 800 km of overhead line
  • Modernise the network to ensure that the excellent security of supply and reliability presently enjoyed in the SPT area is maintained.

Media information: Simon McMillan 0141 614 4582/ 07753 622 257

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