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SSEN Transmission calls for timely regulatory approval of East Coast HVDC link ‘Final Needs Case’

23 Dec 2021

SSEN Transmission, together with National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), has submitted to the GB energy regulator, Ofgem, a Final Needs Case (FNC) for the first of two subsea superhighways of electricity transmission connecting the north of Scotland and England.

The initial 2GW link will run from Peterhead in north east Scotland to Yorkshire (Drax) on the east coast of England. With an energisation date of 2029 and at an estimated investment of around £2.1bn, the project is being taken forward as a joint venture with NGET.

The link is essential to alleviate constraints on the GB transmission system, enable growth in renewables and support the transition to net zero emissions. It will also support hundreds of green jobs, playing a key role in the green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

For every year this link is not in place, hundreds of millions of pounds of GB consumers money is paid out in constraint payments to electricity generators unable to export to the grid. It is therefore vital that there are no delays to the delivery of this critical national infrastructure.

Clear commitment to this investment, including identifying the party responsible for the timely delivery of this critical national infrastructure, will also be crucial to enable early supply chain engagement. An early decision on this will therefore be necessary to allow a competitively tendered procurement process to begin in 2022 in order to secure the supply chain and deliver the best price for GB consumers and connected users of the GB transmission system.

"Submission of the Final Needs Case for the East Coast HVDC link from Peterhead to Selby marks a key milestone in our collective net zero ambitions. In all credible future energy scenarios, it is beyond question that this link is required to alleviate current and future constraints on the GB transmission system."

Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission

Rob continued: “Building on Ofgem’s timely approval of the Initial Needs Case, we look forward to working constructively with the regulator and wider stakeholders to unlock the investment required for this vital project and in doing so, provide the certainty that is required to secure the supply chain and deliver the best price for GB consumers.”

If approved, the FNC will be followed by the Project Assessment, which will determine the level of investment requirement for the project.

SSEN Transmission’s investment in the East Coast HVDC link is part of the SSE Group’s recently announced Net Zero Acceleration Programme, which will see £12.5bn invested in the five years to 2026, or £7m every day. SSEN Transmission alone expects to invest around £4bn over this period as it delivers a network for net zero in the north of Scotland.

To further support the forecast growth in renewables required to deliver net zero, particularly offshore wind and the UK and Scottish Government’s 2030 offshore wind targets of 40GW and 11GW respectively, a second HVDC link from Peterhead to England is also planned.