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Energy minister marks completion of Caithness-Moray transmission link


By Staff Reporter- NOSN

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Paul Wheelhouse (centre) with Rob McDonald (left) and Colin Nicol from SSEN at Blackhillock substation. Picture: Stuart Nicol Photography
Paul Wheelhouse (centre) with Rob McDonald (left) and Colin Nicol from SSEN at Blackhillock substation. Picture: Stuart Nicol Photography

THE Caithness-Moray HVDC link will play a major role in achieving emissions targets while connecting Scotland's huge renewable resources with new markets, energy minister Paul Wheelhouse has said.

He was speaking at Blackhillock substation, near Keith, as he marked the completion of SSEN Transmission’s £1bn flagship project.

The 113km subsea link uses HVDC technology, allowing the efficient transfer of up to 1200MW of clean renewable electricity from Spittal substation to areas of demand in central Scotland and beyond.

The link and all associated onshore transmission infrastructure has also increased the reliability of the transmission system in the north of Scotland, supporting the electricity system operator, National Grid, in its balancing of electricity supply and demand.

The link has been operational since January this year with all major works associated with the project completed in the summer.

SSEN Transmission said it had been delivered on time and within regulatory allowances.

With both the Scottish and UK governments legislating for net zero emissions, Caithness-Moray is regarded as a critical investment in the fight against climate change.

As well as harnessing the renewable output from electricity generators in Caithness, the link has capacity to support the proposed transmission links connecting Orkney and Shetland, home to some of the UK’s greatest renewable resources.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “This is a major milestone in our plans to evolve Scotland's energy infrastructure to adapt to the growing demand for renewable energy as a route to decarbonisation of our power, transport and heating systems. Not only that but the new Caithness-Moray link, which uses efficient HVDC technology, strengthens the security of our electricity system, and connects our huge renewable resources with new demand and markets.

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse unveiling the Caithness-Moray plaque. Picture: Stuart Nicol Photography
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse unveiling the Caithness-Moray plaque. Picture: Stuart Nicol Photography

"This new HVDC link will play a key role in achieving Scotland’s vital but challenging greenhouse gas emissions targets and it helps us to move to net zero emissions across other areas of our economy as we respond to the global climate emergency.”

Rob McDonald, managing director of transmission, said: “We would like to thank the minister for taking the time to visit Blackhillock substation and find out more about the critical role the north of Scotland is playing in meeting our electricity needs and supporting the transition to net zero.

“Achieving net zero will require significant investment across all parts of society, with a requirement on each and every one of us to play our part.On Monday this week we set out proposals to invest a minimum of £2.4bn from April 2021 to March 2026 which would result in our network supporting enough renewable electricity to power 10 million GB homes.

“Caithness-Moray is already playing a critical role in the fight against climate change and we look forward to building on this contribution in the coming years.”


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