A multi-million pound project to replace one of the two submarine electricity distribution cables connecting Orkney to mainland Scotland has been completed.
Teams from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) connected the new 37km subsea wire to the main power network yesterday, in a move that aims to ensure resilience of supply to the islands ahead of winter.
Global Offshore headed up the £30 million Pentland Firth East project, with the help of specialist marine vessels the Normand Clipper and Global Symphony.
The new 33 kilovolt (kV) cable runs between Murkle Bay, near Thurso on the north coast of Scotland and Rackwick Bay on the Island of Hoy.
The project also allowed for the approximately 7km of existing overhead power lines in Hoy to be removed and replaced by underground cable – the existing overhead line will be dismantled in the coming weeks.
It’s part of a wider programme of investment being undertaken by SSEN to replace around 90km of submarine cables connecting Scotland’s island communities by 2023 – a fifth of the total number currently in operation.
Mark Rough, director of customer operations at SSEN, said: “The Pentland Firth East project is one of the biggest standalone projects we’ve completed in the north of Scotland and we’d like to thank our contract partners, archaeological and ecological experts, engineering teams and local suppliers for their professionalism and dedication to ensure the successful delivery of the subsea cable installation and land-based works on Hoy.
“Ensuring a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity to our customers is our main priority at SSEN. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their ongoing support as we worked to deliver this significant investment which will strengthen resilience of supplies to the Orkney Islands for years to come.”
James Stockan, leader of Orkney Islands Council, said: “The new cable will secure Orkney’s electricity supply well into the future and I am delighted this crucially important work has been completed successfully.
“In addition, I am pleased that the onshore work at Rackwick and beyond had been carried out to a very high standard in an area renowned for its wildlife and natural beauty – a challenging task undertaken with great skill and sensitivity.”