A £1billion undersea energy cable to transmit renewable energy from the north of the Scotland to the rest of the country has been hailed as a “critical” part of the country’s fight on climate change.
SSEN Transmission has spent the last four years completing the vast 70-mile power link that stretches from Caithness to Blackhillock, near Keith, under the Moray Firth.
Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse declared the project complete during a visit to the energy substation in Moray, which underwent a huge expansion as part of the works.
SSEN says the power link will have the capacity to transport enough renewable energy from the north to power nearly 200,000 homes across the country to reduce national carbon emissions.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “This marks a major milestone in our plans to evolve Scotland’s energy infrastructure to adapt to the growing demand for renewable energy as a route to decarbonisation of our power, transport and heating systems.
“Not only that, but the new Caithness-Moray link, which uses efficient HVDC (high-voltage direct current) technology, strengthens the security of our electricity system, and connects our huge renewable resources with new demand and markets.
“In such a way, this new HVDC link will play a key role in achieving Scotland’s vital, but challenging, greenhouse gas emissions targets and helps us to move to net zero emissions across other areas of our economy, as we respond to the global climate emergency.”
The complex project involved a vast temporary compound being built near Portgordon in Moray while drills tunnelled beneath the seabed.
The connection is also expected to provide opportunities to create further links to renewable energy projects in both Orkney and Shetland.
SSEN say the project represents a “critical investment” in attempts to meet both the UK and Scottish governments’ targets for net zero carbon emissions.
It is estimated that the power transmitted through the cable will provide a £634.5million boost to the UK economy while supporting the equivalent of 10,000 years of employment.
Rob McDonald, SSEN Transmission’s managing director, said: “Achieving net zero will require significant investment across all parts of society, with a requirement on each and every one of us to play our part.
“Caithness-Moray is already playing a critical role in the fight against climate change and we look forward to building on this contribution in the coming years.”