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€1.5 billion contracts awarded to build the world’s longest interconnector

Contracts totalling €1.5billion have been awarded to build the North Sea Link – the first electricity link between UK and Norway.

North Sea Link has contracted with two cable suppliers, Prysmian and Nexans, to deliver the cable needed for the 740 kilometre route length. The converter stations in both UK and Norway will be delivered by ABB, the power technology specialist.

The project, which will establish a first direct connection between the two countries energy systems, is a joint venture between National Grid and Statnett SF, the Norwegian transmission system operator. The new interconnector will contribute to increased production and use of renewable energy on both sides and will have a capacity of 1400MW.

The project comprises a 730 kilometres subsea HVDC system with cables which will be the longest of its type in the world ,with a 10 kilometre onshore route. With twin cabling the total length of cable required is approximately 1450 km. It will run from Blyth in Northumberland on the UK side to Kvilldal in Rogaland on the Norwegian side.

Prysmian will supply and install 950 km of submarine and land cables for the UK and Norwegian North Sea sections of the route. The cables will be produced at their Arco Felice factory in Naples and they will using their own cable laying vessel “Giulio Verne”.

Nexans will supply the fjord, tunnel and lake sections, as well as the onshore connection in Norway. They will design and manufacture some 500 km of HVDC cables at their Halden plant. The cables will be laid by Nexans’ own cable-laying vessel, C/S Nexans Skagerrak and protected on the seabed by trenching with Nexans’ Capjet system and rock dumping.

ABB will supply the high voltage direct current converter stations at the UK and Norwegian ends of the link. The contract to design, supply and commission the converter stations using their HVDC Light technology.

Alan Foster, National Grid’s director of European Business Development said:
“There is a huge programme of work for us to undertake over the next five years to deliver what will be the world’s longest interconnector. Our contractors will have a big part to play in that successful delivery. But the benefits to both UK and Norway are also huge and when completed the link will deliver low carbon electricity for the UK and also add to security of supply for Norwegian consumers.”

Håkon Borgen, Executive Vice President of Statnett said:
“This project is an important part of Europe’s future electricity system and we are very pleased to have these contractors aboard. Now we can go further in building the world’s longest interconnector and we expect to see an efficient and qualified execution of the project, with focus on health, security and environment.”

The link is expected to be in operation by 2021.

The world’s longest interconnector gets underway

National Grid and Statnett, the Norwegian Transmission System Operator, will today sign the ownership agreement which signals the start of the construction phase for the 730 kilometre interconnector between UK and Norway.

The North Sea Link would be the first electricity interconnector between the two countries and has a planned capacity of 1400 MW – enough to power nearly three quarters of a million homes. The ownership agreement will be signed at the British Embassy in Oslo.

Alan Foster, Director of European Business Development for National Grid said:

“Access to low-carbon energy from Norway hydro power stations will help us meet the challenge of greener, affordable energy. It also adds to the diversity of energy sources for UK and potentially can reduce peak prices with benefits for consumers and businesses”

Auke Lont, Statnett CEO said:

“We are proud to be part of this project. Not only is this a technically impressive project where we will set a new world record, it is also an important contribution to the increase of renewable energy production on both sides, and thereby an essential part of the future electricity system. In addition it will contribute to security of supply and value creation for both Norway and the UK”

The interconnector would run from Blyth in Northumberland to Kvilldal in Rogaland on the Norwegian side. There will be a converter station on each side where the interconnector is connected to the grid. The project is estimated to cost around € 2 billion to be shared jointly. The interconnector is planned to be completed by 2021.

Licence granted in Norway for North Sea Link

On 13 October, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy granted Statnett a licence to construct an interconnector linking Norway and the UK. This is an important milestone in the project’s development.

The decision means that the project has been licenced to enable Norway and the UK to trade power. The North Sea Link project already has a planning approval for the construction planned in Norway.

Executive Vice President Håkon Borgen in Statnett said: “We are very pleased that the Ministry has now issued the licence for the planned subsea cable to the UK. This is an important step towards realising the project as planned.”

North Sea Link granted planning permission from Northumberland County Council

On 7th October 2014 National Grid North Sea Link Limited was granted outline planning permission from Northumberland County Council for a converter station and cable landing in the East Sleekburn area.

This is an important milestone for the project, which will connect the UK’s electricity system to Norway’s and allow electricity to flow in either direction between the two countries.

Mark Pearce, Planning and Consents manager for National Grid said:

“We are delighted that outline planning permission has been granted as the East Sleekburn site is ideally suited for the development. We look forward to working with the local authority, community and interest groups as the project progresses.”

North Sea Link planning application submitted

National Grid North Sea Link Limited has submitted an application for a marine licence to the Marine Management Organisation and an outline planning application to Northumberland County Council for a converter station and cable landing in the East Sleekburn area. Copies of the application documents are available to view at Ashington, Blyth and Bedlington libraries. They can also be downloaded here.

National Grid North Sea Link Limited granted electricity interconnector licence

On 20th June 2013 National Grid North Sea Link Limited was granted an electricity interconnector licence by the Gas & Electricity Markets Authority (Ofgem).

The license authorises National Grid North Sea Link Limited to participate in the operation of the NSN Link – an electricity interconnector between the UK and Norway.

The NSN Link interconnector will consist of subsea and underground cables connected to a converter station and an electricity substation in each country, which will allow electricity to flow in either direction between the two countries. An electricity interconnector licence is required under the Electricity Act 1989 and cannot be held in conjunction with any other electricity licence.

For more information, please visit Ofgem’s website www.ofgem.gov.uk. A copy of the licence is available from the Ofgem Library, 9 Millbank, London, SWIP 3GE (020 7901 7003) or by email at library@ofgem.gov.uk.