Search Results

More Uncertainty For Scotland-Norway Link

Norwegian state involvement could jeapordise NorthConnect project

It seems that a proposal being put forward  in Oslo to put the state-controlled grid operator Statnett in charge of all Norwegian interconnector projects could potentially stall or finish off the development of a North Sea HVDC interconnector between Scotland and Norway.

While Statnett currently has no interest in NorthConnect it does have a stake in other interconnector projects, including the  North Sea Network (NSN) joint venture with National Grid. This project proposed to build an interconnector  line between Northumberland and Western Norway, which would bypass Scotland and could damage the country’s hopes of being a major renewable energy exporter in the future.

This warning was given by Ødd Oygarden, who is the chairman of NorthConnect, the consortium behind the project. Oygarden said: “We will have to see what will happen with the Norwegian government’s proposition. If it goes ahead – You can take it that [cancelling the NorthConnect project] might be a possible development. The government suggesting that there should be a near-monopolistic situation with interconnectors is not what we want as a background for reaching agreements.”

This is the second bit of bad news for the project this month after it emerged that SSE, a major partner with a 25% in the consortium, was withdrawing to concentrate on other business. It cited  a ‘lack of clarity on the regulatory regime around interconnectors’  for its decision to withdraw. The NOrwegian government has done little to promote such clarity with its somewhat opaque statement that “Grid investments shall be conducted if they are socio-economically profitable. This includes new interconnectors.”


Previous article – SSE pull the plug on NorthConnect


SSE Pulls Out Of Scotland-Norway Interconnector Project

Scottish company disconnects – other partners to go ahead

SSE has disconnected from its involvement in the NorthConnect interconnector project to build a 1400MW subsea HVDC electricity cable linking Scotland and Norway.

The electricity giant said it intended to focus on its core markets in the UK and Ireland. It blamed a ‘lack of clarity on the regulatory regime around interconnectors’  for its decision to withdraw.

The other members of NorthConnect, Vattenfall, E-CO Energi, Agder Energi and Lyse, said it would not affect their plans, while SSE said that its withdrawal ‘does not affect the deliverability of the project’.

Let’s hope that last part is right. This news, coming hard on the heels of the announcement of the Shetland interconnector delay and Voith Wavegen’s withdrawal from Scotland, is another reminder that Scotland’s renewables revolution needs a lot more joined up thinking and serious investment if it is to reach its full potential.


Previous articles on the NorthConnect project


UK-Norway Interconnector Secures Connection Point In Scotland

North Sea electricity link will connect to the UK grid in Peterhead

NorthConnect, the Interconnector Development Company planning an interconnector between the United Kingdom and Norway, has signed an agreement with the TSO National Grid, securing a connection point in Peterhead Scotland. The agreement paves the way for further detailed planning of the grid connection on the British part of the interconnector. NorthConnect is jointly owned by Vattenfall, SSE and three Norwegian companies, E-CO Energi, Agder Energi and Lyse,

When in operation, NorthConnect will be the first interconnector to directly connect the UK’s electricity network with Scandinavia and will contribute to enhanced security of energy supply in both the Scandinavian and the UK market. Furthermore it will facilitate the development of renewable generation in both regions, as the high penetration of wind generation in UK and hydro-energy in Scandinavia complement each other. From a pan-European perspective, NorthConnect will make a significant contribution towards the development of the internal European market for electricity, with increased competition between regions in Northern Europe, and a cost-efficient realization of the targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy in Europe.

The agreement with National Grid is an important milestone in the development of the NorthConnect Interconnector.

NorthConnect is planned with a capacity of 1.400 MW and is scheduled to be commissioned in 2020

Peterhead Connection For North Sea Interconnector

Application for Scotland-Norway grid connection submitted

NorthConnect, the interconnector development company jointly owned by E-CO Energi, Agder Energi (AE), Lyse, Vattenfall and SSE,  has submitted an application to National Grid Transmission for an onshore connection to the mainland network for a 1,400MW electricity interconnector between Great Britain and Norway.

NorthConnect, a Norwegian registered company, was established in February 2011 by its 5 shareholders to examine the technical and economic viability of developing, building and operating an HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) interconnector, to be designed so that electricity can flow in both directions.  

A landing point around Peterhead in north east Scotland, which will require an interconnector of around 570kms in length, has been identified and today NorthConnect has submitted an application to National Grid Transmission for a grid connection at Peterhead. This is the first step in a number of applications for consent to bring the interconnector ashore and construct an HVDC convertor station where it will be linked to the mainland network.

When in operation, the interconnector will be the first to  directly connect Scotland’s electricity network to that of a mainland European country. NorthConnect will contribute to enhanced security of energy supply in both the Nordic market area and UK, and it will contribute to more stable energy prices for consumers and facilitate the development of renewable generation in both regions. In addition to such an interconnector having a clear business justification, the planned interconnector enables the realisation of, (and use of) low cost carbon potential, and supports the long term development of the electricity market.

Odd Øygarden, Chairman of the Board of NorthConnect, commented:

“NorthConnect is delighted to have submitted this grid application to Great Britain’s National Grid Transmission. This marks a further milestone in the progress of developing this interconnector. We are sure that there is a real requirement to more closely link the electricity markets of Scandinavia and Great Britain together as this will bring benefits in terms of security of supply, deployment of additional renewable generation and more efficient generation in both regions. The NorthConnect interconnector will play an important role in delivering these important benefits.”




Interconnectors – The Missing Link

New undersea cables needed to get the power to the people!

The further North and West you go the more powerful the forces of wind and sea become round Scotland’s shores, with massive wind and wave resources available in the Western Isles and Shetland. The amount of power available is vastly greater  than  is required by these island communities, so where will it go? There is no way of delivering that power to the national grid until new high-voltage undersea cables (usually referrred to as interconnectors) are laid and installed.

Western Isles

The need for an interconnector to the Western Isles first arose when the giant Lewis windfarm was in the throes of the planning process back in  2004. The application was eventually rejected on environmental grounds in April 2008, and since then the interconnector has only been mentioned occasionally in passing. Now that a seabed lease has been granted for  Aquamarine Power’s proposed wavepower project West of Lewis a new grid link to the mainland has once again become a priority.


In  Shetland a new interconnector is a vital component in Viking Energy’s plans for a huge windfarm on the Shetland mainland. Sustainable Shetland are the main objectors to the interconnector, but by their own admission they  object to the proposal because it is an integral part of the Viking Energy scheme. In practice a new interconnector woudl not be solely for the benefit of Viking, it woudl allow other renewable generators to link in to the national grid. This argument was strengthened with the recent award of a seabed lease to Aegir Wave Farm Ltd, who are planning a  10MW farm, with up to 26 Pelamis P2 “sea snake” energy converters installed somewhere between Burra and Fitful Head.  Work could potentially start in 2013, but without an interconnector this project could not go ahead.

North Sea

A subsea electricity cable linking Scotland to Norway would allow the import and export of electricity between the UK and Scandinavia. This would go a long way to helping to smooth out the variability inherent ion renewables, particularly wind. In February the First Minister announced the launch of a jointly-owned interconnector development company, NorthConnect – whose work will be supported with €50,000 from the Scottish European Green Energy Centre – as he addressed the Scottish Renewables-Scottish Enterprise offshore wind conference in Aberdeen. While a number of options are being explored, there is a technical preference for the shortest route, which would mean a landing point in the North East of Scotland.

Time is Pressing

Laying these interconnectors in not going to be cheap and the question as always is who is going to fund them. However, if the committment to these vital links is seen to be lacking it will discourage the many companies currently looking into investing in renewable projects in the islands. The Scottish government needs to reassure the industry that when the power comes onstream the cables wil be in place to deliver it to the grid.


Aquamarine project sparks new Western Isles link call

Shetland Windfarm Suportes Group  – Interconnector page

Sustainable Shetland – opposition to the interconnector

First Minister announces North Sea connector scheme