Underground cable works underway for Shetland link

SSEN Transmission has announced that work to install the underground High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cables along the 2.5km cable corridor is now underway for its 600 MW
Shetland Interconnector project. The 320kV cable will transport renewable energy from Shetland islands to areas of demand in Scotland.

The onshore cable will run from the switching station at Noss Head to the subsea cable landfall point which is south of the Noss Head lighthouse. Once installed it will connect with the 260km subsea HVDC cable which will enable Shetland’s connection to the national grid for the first time and facilitate the connection of new renewable generation, unlocking Shetland’s potential to generate and export renewable energy.

The cable installation works are being carried out by SSEN Transmission’s principal contractor - cable specialist NKT - and NKT's local subcontractor Gunns and follows progress made on the construction of the switching station at Noss Head and the cable installation and convertor station works ongoing on Shetland.

Due to the coastal cliffs at Noss Head, where the subsea cable makes landfall, the cable duct will be installed using horizontal directional drilling (HDD), a trenchless drilling method used to install ducts beneath the ground through which cables can be pulled, providing minimum disturbance to the surrounding area. Once the ducts are installed and cable has been delivered, the cable will be pulled into the ducts in sections, jointed and then terminated at the two converter stations.

Lead Project Manager Chris Finnigan, responsible for the cable installation project, said: “It’s great to see the cable installation getting underway and see Shetland’s connection to the UK grid for the first time becoming a reality. It is a significant milestone for the project, it has taken a lot of hard work and collaboration with our colleagues at NKT and with local stakeholders to get to this stage.

“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who lives near the cable route for their co-operation and understanding whilst we carry out the works.”