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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

 

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