In: CablesInterconnectors
Following route surveys, data collection and various studies completed by Global Offshore in 2019, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has started its core work programme to replace one of the two submarine cables connecting Orkney to mainland Scotland. The project received marine licence approval from Marine Scotland earlier this week.

The £30 million project includes the installation of a new 33 kV cable, which follows the existing route from Murkle Bay, near Thurso, to Rackwick Bay on the island of Hoy. Installation will likely be complete by 1st September 2020.

Installation of the new cable will allow for the removal of some sections of existing overhead line on Hoy, to be replaced with underground cable. All the construction work is expected to complete by November 2020. In October 2019, Ofgem refused to invest on the proposed project, due to lack of demonstration of economic and efficient solutions.

Mark Rough, Director of Customer Operations, said: ‘We are committed to ensuring a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity to our customers and this critical investment project is an essential part of that commitment.

‘We’d like to thank all stakeholders for their feedback on our proposals during our open-door events last year. Following consultation, we’ve scheduled installation to minimise disruption on local marine life, with the works also planned to avoid the main breeding seasons for key bird populations.’

In July 2019, SSEN repaired the cable in Rackwick Bay, following a cable fault. After routine inspections, the Pentland Firth East cable was identified for replacement, as the cable was reaching the end of its operational life. By 2023, SSEN is planning to replace 90 km of submarine cable connecting Scotland’s island communities, which is a fifth of the 454 km currently in operation. 59 Scottish islands are connected to the mainland electricity network via submarine electricity cables.

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