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Final milestone for Shetland HVDC link complete following appointment of main contractors

Shetland power cable
An artist's impression of SSE's Viking Onshore Wind Farm (pictured)

Work to install a huge power link cable between Shetland and the Scottish mainland is expected to get underway later this month after the main contractors were appointed.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has awarded a contract to Siemens BAM to construct an AC Substation at Kergord, which is required for the connection of renewable energy developments.

Global marine cable solution provider, NKT, will be responsible for the manufacture and installation of the subsea cable, which will connect Shetland to the GB transmission system for the first time.

Civil engineering works will be carried out by BAM Nuttall, with Hitachi ABB Power Grids delivering and commissioning the HVDC system.

The contract awards follow the recent decision by energy regulator Ofgem to green light the transmission link, which will support SSE Renewables’ planned 103-turbine Viking Onshore Wind Farm on the island.

Enabling works are due to begin towards the end of August, with full construction of the AC Substation, HVDC Convertor and Switching Stations, expected to commence in early 2021.

All construction works are scheduled to be complete in December 2023, with energisation and full commissioning following in July 2024.

At its peak, in the summer of 2022, SSEN, which is a subsidiary of SSE, expects the project to employ almost 250 people.

Commenting on the major contract awards, Sandy Mactaggart, SSEN Transmission’s director of offshore delivery, said: “We are delighted to have finalised contracts with our supply chain partners for the Shetland HVDC link, building on the experience and strong track record we have collectively established over recent years following the construction and operation of the Caithness Moray link.

“All four contractors are leading specialists in their field, building the high quality and reliable infrastructure required to meet Shetland’s future energy needs and contribute to UK and Scottish net zero targets.

“The Shetland HVDC link will deliver substantial socio-economic and environmental benefits to Shetland’s, Scotland’s and the UK’s economy, supporting hundreds of skilled jobs in the process as part of the green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“With all major milestones complete, we now look forward to working closely with the Shetland and Caithness communities and other stakeholders throughout the construction and future operation of these critical national infrastructure assets.”

Niklas Persson, managing director of the Grid Integration at Hitachi ABB Power Grids, said: “Our advanced HVDC technology will bring clean electricity to consumers and enable the sharing of renewable resources by interconnecting Shetland with mainland Scotland.  We value this opportunity to further grow our partnership with SSEN Transmission. Being part of this innovative project is another example of Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ commitment to a sustainable energy future and a partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”

Claes Westerlind, NKT’s EVP and head of solutions, said: “We are very pleased to be a partner for the Shetland HVDC link and to extend the good collaboration with SSEN Transmission from the Caithness Moray project. Together, we will provide a sustainable grid connection to Shetland and renewable energy supply from the island,”

Mark Tiernan, Siemens director high voltage substations, said: “Siemens /BAM are delighted to be delivering the Kergord 132kV GIS substation through the well-established Siemens/BAM JV which has worked extensively across the network with the SSEN Transmission team  The project will use Siemens Energy’s world leading and innovative environmentally friendly gas insulated switchgear, which enables climate-neutral, reliable power transmission, free of harmful greenhouse gases, supporting SSEN Transmission’s commitment to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions by one third by 2026.”

Adrian Savory, BAM Nuttall chief executive, said: “BAM is delighted to continue our collaborative relationship with SSEN Transmission on this project in Shetland, which has such strategic national importance. We look forward working closely with SSEN Transmission, ABB, NKT, and Siemens. And we’re excited to be providing infrastructure that contributes to Scottish net-zero targets and boosts the local economies in both Shetland and Caithness.”

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