A large number of offshore wind projects are being developed around the UK by various companies, and 25GW of their generated energy will be looking to come ashore and connect to homes and businesses up and down the East Coast by 2030.
The existing transmission network in this part of East Anglia was developed in the 1960s and until today has been able to meet demand and transmit the energy produced by Sizewell B and offshore wind farms such as Galloper and Greater Gabbard out of the region. By 2030, the amount of renewable and low carbon energy connecting to the network will dramatically increase – 17.4GW of which is contracted to connect in East Anglia by the end of this decade.
As a result of this increase, the existing network in Suffolk does not have the capability needed to reliably and securely transport all the energy that will connect by 2030 out of the region. Adding a new High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) electricity link will provide additional capacity to deliver that clean, green energy to where it is required.
These additional power flows cause equal challenges on the network in Kent. During periods of high wind generation from offshore wind farms on the east coast, electricity will need to be exported to Europe via interconnectors to balance the electricity network. Many of these interconnectors being developed will be located along the south and east coasts of the UK, where the majority of the UK’s existing interconnectors are already located.
But to enable this surplus electricity to be exported, energy has to be first transferred from where it is received in East Anglia to where interconnectors connect into the network in Kent and the rest of south-east England. In times of low wind generation, we will also need to import electricity through these interconnectors to meet national demand.
Our existing network is not able to cope with this level of transmission between the two regions, and so we need to develop a new undersea link between the locations where energy is connected into the network and where it’s imported and exported out of it. By connecting East Anglia and Kent, Sea Link will provide the additional network capacity needed to enable the import and export of wind energy to and from Europe.