The NorthConnect interconnector will have a capacity of 1400MW, will be 655km in length and is intended to facilitate the trading of energy with Norway and continental Europe. The interconnector will be routed from Simadalen in Norway, across the North Sea to Long Haven Bay, Peterhead in Scotland.
 

 

The underground cables will connect it to a converter station at Fourfields near Boddam, Peterhead, where the electricity will be converted from High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) to High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC). An HVAC cable will connect the converter station to the National Grid network at Peterhead substation. Similar infrastructure is proposed at the Norwegian landfall at Sima at the end of Hardangerfjord, with a converter station in Simadalen.

The exact route that the cables will take across the North Sea to Simadalen in Norway has yet to be determined.  The final cable route design will take into account input from stakeholders and results of a detailed subsea survey.

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The HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) subsea cables are used to lower transmission losses along the link. The National Grid systems use Alternating Current (AC) technology. Interconnector converter stations are therefore required at each end of the HVDC cable to convert the DC electricity to AC and vice versa to allow connection to substations on the National Grid.

interconnector-section

Project Need

Norwegian electricity is primarily from hydro-electric sources, while Scotland and the UK have an increasing proportion of wind power in their energy mix.

NorthConnect will connect the two complementary and previously disconnected power systems of Scotland and Norway, helping both to balance the grid between the two countries, and allowing wider trading across Europe.  This will ensure security of supply and stabilise electricity prices for consumers.

The European Union has set a target for 20% of Europe’s energy requirements being met by renewable resources by 2020.  The Scottish Government goes further and aims to exceed this target by supplying 100% of Scottish demand from renewable sources by the same date.
The increase of wind power into the energy mix is increasing the demand for reserve generation capacity to store excess energy produced during windy periods, and to meet periods of high demand. Hydro-power is one reserve power option, however Scotland does not have sufficient hydro capacity.
In parallel with this, there is emerging international cooperation in the European energy sector and the clear political goal of linking the European power systems closer together.  NorthConnect will connect the two complementary and previously disconnected power systems of Scotland and Norway, helping both to balance the grid between the two countries and allowing wider trading across Europe. This will ensure security of supply and stabilise electricity prices for consumers.

 

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Public Consultation

NorthConnect are committed to working with the local communities at both ends of the connection, as well as users of the marine environment.

The NorthConnect scheme was, in 2013, designated as a “Project of Common Interest” or PCI, within the legal framework of the European Union and European Economic Area, of which Norway is also a signatory state.                       

This means that NorthConnect is seen as a very important project for achieving Europe’s energy market and climate change targets.  As a result it has been included in the 2014 Ten Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) for European electricity projects, and is also included on the 2015 list of PCI projects.

Details of the public consultation being undertaken in the UK can be found here, and details of the public consultation being undertaken in Norway can be found here.

Fibre Optic Link

The NorthConnect project may also include a fibre optic link between Scotland and Noway

In addition to the main work on the sub sea electrical connection, NorthConnect has investigated the inclusion of a repeaterless fibre-optic data cable in the project. Initial findings show it will be technically feasible and cost-effective when combined with the power cable design, manufacture and subsea installation. The commercial aspects are being examined further, but NorthConnect has a unique geographic advantage where it meets the Norwegian and UK coastlines, crossing strong, existing fibre-optic links very close to the world class oil and gas centres of both Stavanger and Aberdeen. This will also provide a significant opportunity to Norway for the development of data-centres in the Rogaland region