Scotland to England Green Link

Undersea electricity superhighways that will help deliver net zero move a step closer

  • Positive progress on plans for £3.4bn electricity super-highway projects - Scotland to England Green Links.

  • Ofgem opens consultation that recognises the “clear case” and “consumer benefit” of two subsea high voltage cables to transport clean between Scotland and England. 

  • The cables form part of a planned 16 project £10 billion investment from National Grid to deliver on the government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030.

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) welcomes Ofgem’s recognition of the “clear case” and “consumer benefit” of the Scotland to England Green Links in their consultation on the ‘Final Needs case’ of the project.  

The two subsea links, which will have a capacity of up to 4GW, will transport enough electricity to power four million homes. They are the largest electricity transmission investment projects in Britain’s recent history and will support hundreds of green jobs throughout construction and operation. 

The first 2GW link is a partnership between NGET and SP Energy Networks and will run from Torness, Scotland to the Hawthorn Pit Substation in Durham County, England with approximately 176km of offshore cable. The second 2GW link, a partnership between NGET and SSEN Transmission, will originate from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and terminate at Drax in North Yorkshire, England with 440km of cable running undersea. 

These projects are part of National Grid’s work upgrading the electricity transmission system to deliver the UK government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030. In addition to the Eastern Links, it is developing 14 major projects across its network to facilitate the target representing a £10 billion investment. This includes two further Scotland to England high voltage links (also in partnership with the Scottish transmission network owners) and proposals in the Humber, Lincolnshire, East Midlands, North of England, Yorkshire, North Kent, as well as four in East Anglia (one of which is a proposed offshore link between Suffolk and Kent). 

Chris Bennett, Interim President at National Grid Electricity Transmission said: “The Scotland to England Green Links form part of £10 billion investment in 16 major projects to help deliver the government’s offshore wind target of 40GW by 2030, a critical step in helping achieve greater energy independence and net zero. 

"Ofgem’s recognition of their benefit and the likely delivery model is encouraging. Final approval will offer opportunities for job creation, economic growth and consumer savings – at the same time as delivering the essential infrastructure required for meet the UK’s climate targets. 

"We now look forward to working constructively with Ofgem and other stakeholders as the project continues to move forward.”

Ofgem’s recognition of their benefit and the likely delivery model is encouraging. Final approval will offer opportunities for job creation, economic growth and consumer savings...

Commenting on the consultation Barnaby Wharton, Director of Future Electricity Systems at Renewable UK said: “The decision to take the next step forward on the Eastern Link projects is great news for consumers and the environment.   

"Onshore is the cheapest form of electricity generation we have, so getting on with these projects means that we will be able to deliver even more power produced by wind farms in Scotland to consumers in England. Having more transmission capacity means that we won’t have to curtail wind generation when the networks can’t cope, saving consumers even more.” 

In addition to facilitating ‘40GW of offshore wind by 2030’ National Grid are also investing across its transmission network in England and Wales through projects such as the Hinkley Connection, a £900m investment to connect low carbon energy to six million homes in the South West and London Power Tunnels, a £1 billion project building 30km of tunnels to ‘rewire’ London and future proof its electricity supply for decades to come. 

National Grid has been consulting with local communities near the onshore elements of the proposed route. If approved, work would start on Torness-Hawthorn Pit in 2024, expected to complete in 2027 and Peterhead-Drax in 2024, expected to complete in 2029.  

Ofgem’s consultation also outlines how they are minded to continue to consider the Eastern Link proposals under their Large Onshore Transmission Investment (LOTI) mechanism within the RIIO-2 framework, rather than the Competitively Appointed Transmission Owner (CATO) or Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) models. You can read Ofgem’s consultation and their final decision is expected later in 2022 

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Ben Davis
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