SSEN Transmission and National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) have reached another milestone in the development of a new subsea electricity superhighway by selecting Hitachi Energy and BAM as preferred suppliers for the HVDC converter stations in the project.
Eastern Green Link 2 (EGL2) will see the creation of a 525kV, 2GW high voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea transmission cable from Peterhead in Scotland to Drax in England. The longest HVDC cable in the UK and the UK’s single largest electricity transmission project ever, providing enough electricity to power 2 million UK homes.
Hitachi Energy is partnering with BAM to provide the engineering works and technology for the HVDC converter stations which form the terminals for the HVDC cable and convert direct current to the alternating current used in the onshore transmission network. This latest milestone is another significant step as the project moves towards delivery and follows the recent announcements of Prysmian Group being selected as the exclusive preferred bidder for the HVDC cabling contract, and the formal signing of the joint venture agreement. Following final approval from Ofgem work is expected to commence in 2024, with a targeted operational date of 2029.
The subsea HVDC cable system is approximately 436km in length with new converter stations at either end to connect it into the existing transmission network infrastructure. High-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology provides the most efficient and reliable means of transmitting large amounts of power over long distances subsea.
EGL2 is part of the significant amount of new network infrastructure required for net zero and will play a critical role in supporting the UK’s future security of supply, reducing dependence and price exposure to volatile global wholesale gas markets. National Grid’s research1 has also found that there will be an estimated 400,000 job opportunities for a net zero energy workforce by 2050, including around 100,000 roles based across the north of England.
National Grid Deputy Project Director Sarah Sale said: “This is another important milestone for EGL2 which is part of the new network infrastructure required to help the UK meet its net zero and energy security ambitions. Along with cabling bidder and formal joint venture announcements, this is another key part of the project which is now in place and ready for the delivery phase. We look forward to working in collaboration with Hitachi Energy and BAM as the project continues to progress.”
SSEN Transmission’s Ricky Saez, the EGL2 Project Director, said: “Getting to preferred bidder status with Hitachi Energy and BAM is another massive step in delivering the hugely important EGL2 project. It’s the final major contract that needed to be agreed and really sets the Joint Venture up to be delivered.
“The convertor stations at either end of the cable will play a crucial role in making the power transported subsea suitable for transportation around the onshore transmission network - getting Hitachi Energy and BAM in place to deliver that technology is great for the project.”
Niklas Persson, Managing Director at Hitachi Energy’s Grid Integration business said: “The UK’s Net Zero Strategy has ambitious targets which will require vast amounts of new renewable generation. Electricity will be the backbone of the entire energy system. Our pioneering HVDC technology will ensure that this electricity will reliably and efficiently get where it’s needed most.”
BAM Nuttall Executive Director, Huw Jones, said: “BAM is delighted to work in collaboration with Hitachi Energy on this vital renewable energy project for National Grid and SSEN Transmission. The converter stations will enable the transmission of green energy from areas of offshore wind generation to centres of population, supporting the UK’s net zero ambitions and providing better energy security. We look forward to engaging with local communities and suppliers in Aberdeenshire and North Yorkshire, supporting BAM’s vision to deliver sustainable infrastructure for our clients, stakeholders and the communities in which we work.”
National Grid have launched ‘The Great Grid Upgrade’, the largest overhaul of the grid in generations and a multibillion investment in new electricity transmission projects across England and Wales. The Upgrade, which will help move more clean energy from where it’s generated to where it’s needed and play a major role in the UK moving towards its net zero target, include three further subsea links between Scotland and England, and proposals in the Humber and East Anglia (including a further subsea link between Suffolk and Kent).
SSEN Transmission will be investing over £10bn to upgrade the network around key areas, connecting new onshore and offshore renewables generation in the north of Scotland, as part of its ‘Pathway to 2030’ programme, supporting the delivery of Scotland and the UK’s net zero targets. The programme comprises nine significant onshore and subsea projects, including EGL2.
Find out more about this ground-breaking project by visiting the newly launched dedicated EGL2 website, www.easterngreenlink2.co.uk
1National Grid’s report, ‘Building the Net Zero Energy Workforce’, was written together with Development Economics and uses the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on the UK’s transition to carbon neutrality as a basis.