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A new milestone has been reached in the long-running story of how the Western Isles gets better two-way power connections to the mainland grid, it was announced yesterday (Monday 28 August).

Agreements signed this week pave the way for the long-awaited interconnector, which will enable renewable energy developers in the islands to export their energy to the mainland market.

Power infrastructure company SSEN Transmission has entered into capacity reservation agreements with Hitachi Energy and NKT, who between them will be contracted for the cabling and connections on the Western Isles subsea link.

SSEN Transmission is responsible for the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland, investing in and maintaining the network.  

The latest agreements secure capacity for the production and installation of high voltage direct current (HVDC) cables and converter stations, ready to meet the targeted energisation date in 2030. 

Along with the Spittal-Peterhead link, the project is part of a major upgrade of the electricity transmission network across the UK, enabling the network to hit UK and Scottish Government renewable energy and climate change targets.

The projects will also help secure energy independence, protecting Scotland and the UK from market volatility by enabling the connection and transportation of affordable and homegrown low carbon power. 

Sandy Mactaggart, director of offshore delivery for SSEN Transmission, said the agreements were a hugely important step towards timely delivery of the projects.

He said: “Recognising the unprecedented global demand for HVDC technology, we have acted with pace to secure these key components at the earliest opportunity and we now look forward to concluding contractual arrangements with Hitachi Energy and NKT.” 

Claes Westerlind, NKT president, said: “The reservation of production and offshore installation capacity is an important milestone in the collaboration with SSEN Transmission and our continuous support of the green transition in Scotland. 

“The projects are an excellent fit with our decision to expand our high-voltage production capacity and add a new market-leading cable-laying vessel to our fleet.”

The picture shows NKT’s cable-laying vessel Victoria (NKT/SSEN Transmission).