New Undersea Cables Could Help Ease UK Energy Crisis
The need for high-voltage undersea cables for the transport of electricity from wind farms in Scotland to the National Grid has been approved by Great Britain’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM), reported BBC News.
This and other big projects in the works for Scotland would help alleviate some of the pressure of the energy crisis in the UK, said Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Transmission.
“Accelerating the development and delivery of the strategic electricity transmission infrastructure required to enable the deployment of homegrown and affordable, low carbon power, is arguably the most important enabler to securing the UK’s future energy security and net zero ambitions,” said Managing Director of SSEN Transmission Rob McDonald, as Grampian Online reported.
One of the undersea cables — which has been being discussed for 17 years — would connect the Western Isles, or Outer Hebrides, off the West Coast of Scotland with the Scottish mainland, reported BBC News.
Another cable would run from the hamlet of Spittal in the Scottish Highlands to Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, while two other submarine cables would connect Peterhead with England.
These projects, in addition to powerline improvements in Scotland, would bolster the UK government’s goal of having 50 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by the end of the decade.
The undersea cable projects have been approved by OFGEM, and could have investment from the SSE Group — an electricity network company with a focus on renewables — in excess of $29 billion before 2030.
“Today’s publication of the ASTI Framework is a critical milestone to support our collective net zero and energy security ambitions and we welcome Ofgem’s approval of the need for the investments required to deliver 2030 offshore wind targets,” McDonald said, as The National reported.
The Western Isles Council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said 1.3 GW of offshore wind generation and 420 megawatts (MW) of onshore wind generation would be permitted, reported BBC News. Onshore and offshore wind projects are predicted to grow following the link with the Western Isles.
Community projects will have chances for the grid to purchase their electricity as well, said Councillor Calum Iain MacIver.
The Comhairle Council has been requesting an undersea cable connection since 2005, and SSEN Transmission has been working on it for nearly 15 years.
“The potential for the Western Isles to be a world class resource in renewable energy has long been talked about and that potential can now be delivered for the benefit of the climate, UK energy security and our island economy,” said Comhairle leader Paul Steele, as BBC News reported.