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Shetland reaches major milestone in HVDC connection

4C Offshore | Chloe Emanuel
By: Chloe Emanuel 20/03/2023 SSEN Transmission

A milestone has been reached in connecting Shetland to the national electricity grid for the first time as the next section of subsea cable laying is underway, helping secure the islands future security of supply of low carbon power.

Waiting in waters off Weisdale Voe, the specialist cable laying vessel
NKT Victoria and its team were preparing to start laying 60km of HVDC subsea cable system.

The NKT Victoria lowered the end of the cable which was then successfully pulled onto shore via previously installed ducts by a winch located on the shoreline at Weisdale. Once secured in the transition joint bay, the offshore cable will be jointed to the previously installed HVDC land cable which will then connect to SSEN Transmission’s Kergord HVDC converter station and AC substation.

The NKT Victoria will now make its way south out to sea along the designated cable route, slowly lowering the cable system onto the seabed. Once the cable is in place, it will be trenched into position using a multi-role construction support vessel with a specialist subsea jet trencher, which will ensure the cables are buried to the correct depth. Rock placement will also take place at some sections to ensure the cables are protected where trenching is not possible.

SSEN Transmission’s £660 million Shetland HVDC Link project involves installing a 260km subsea cable system between Noss Head in Caithness and Weisdale Voe in Shetland. The project is split into three campaigns to allow for safe and accurate installation. The first 100km of cable was successfully installed in July last year, with NKT Victoria laying the cable from Noss Head in Caithness heading east and then northwards.

The third and final campaign will take place later this year, which is 100km long and will complete the link between the first and second campaigns in the North Sea to join all three campaigns together and complete the full 260km subsea HVDC link.

The link will enable 600MW of renewable electricity generation to connect, including the 457MW Viking Energy Wind Farm which upon completion is set to be the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm. The Shetland HVDC Link project is on track to be completed by Summer 2024.

For more information on installation and maintenance of major offshore wind farm components, click here.
For more information on interconnector projects worldwide, 
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