ABB HVDC link to export renewable energy from N.Scotland

One of the latest ABB orders, worth over $800m, is from Scottish Hydro Electric (SHE) Transmission plc, to provide the Caithness-Moray high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power transmission link, which will connect the electricity grid on either side of the Moray Firth in northern Scotland. This follows a favorable decision by Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets), an independent National Regulatory Authority, on the need for the link, which will bring green, renewable energy from wind, wave and tidal sources in the North to supply the larger populations residing further South.

ABB will design, engineer, supply and commission two 320 kilovolt land-based HVDC Light converter stations, one rated at 1,200 megawatts (MW) at Blackhillock in Moray and another rated at 800 MW situated at Spittal in Caithness.

ABB’s scope of supply also includes submarine and underground cables covering a total transmission length of nearly 160km. The link is scheduled to become operational in 2018.

“We are pleased to support this major transmission project that will enable integration of a significant amount of renewable energy into the grid and supply clean, emission-free electricity to millions of people,” said Claudio Facchin, head of the ABB Power Systems division. “ABB pioneered HVDC technology and continues to lead the way through innovation, as seen from several recent breakthroughs.”

SHE Transmission is undertaking a major strengthening of its power network serving the north of Scotland to accommodate the rapid growth in generation of electricity from renewable sources, with around 1,200 MW of wind, wave and tidal energy planned to be connected. With associated reinforcement of the existing onshore network, this project represents the largest investment in northern Scotland’s electricity network since the hydro development era of the 1950s.

A key enabler for this is the installation of a subsea HVDC cable, capable of carrying up to 1,200 MW of electricity between Caithness and Moray, equivalent to the electricity needs of about 2m Scottish residents.

ABB’s HVDC Light solution leads the way in VSC (Voltage Source Converter) technology. The company has delivered 13 of the 14 commissioned VSC links in the world. HVDC Light continues to be a preferred solution for long-distance underground and underwater power transmission links.

HVDC Light technology is increasingly being deployed across a range of applications such as the connection of remote renewables, cross-border interconnections, power-from-shore feeding offshore oil and gas platforms, and city center in-feeds where space is a constraint.

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2 Responses

  1. The title [which used to say 2000MW]is mis-leading, since the link can actually only deliver 800 MW at the current setup. One of the sites is however prepared to handle 1200 MW, if a third station is to be build on Shetland Isles

  2. The INSIDER is grateful for this ABB clarification of what their press release says!

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