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Connecting Scotland’s islands

16 Jun 2023

Scotland’s three main island groups hold untapped reserves of renewable energy and unlocking that potential moved closer in 2022/23 thanks to progress made on SSEN Transmission’s HVDC link to Shetland and Ofgem’s ‘minded to’ decision on a subsea connection to Orkney.

The £660m Shetland HVDC link involves around 260km of cabling, all but 10km of which will be in the sea. The project also requires a 320/132kV substation and HVDC convertor station at Upper Kergord and an HVDC switching station at Noss Head in Caithness to connect to the mainland.

The first 100km of cable was successfully installed in July 2022 by a specialist vessel, the NKT Victoria. A further 60km was laid in March 2023 and the remainder will be in place in the North Sea later this year, completing the full subsea link.

On track for completion by Summer 2024, the link will enable 600MW of clean, renewable electricity generation to connect – including Viking Energy Wind Farm.

The proposal for Orkney would enable the connection of up to 220MW of new renewables and consists of a new substation at Finstown and around 57km of subsea cable connecting at Dounreay in Caithness.