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Major milestones in delivery of key contracts for 2030 Scottish electricity transmission network plans

21 Jul 2023
  • Major milestone in securing the supply chain required to help deliver Government 2030 targets
  • Hitachi Energy selected as ‘preferred bidder’ for Western Isles and Spittal-Peterhead HVDC Converter Systems
  • NKT selected as ‘preferred’ bidder for Western Isles and Spittal-Peterhead HVDC Cables
  • Sumitomo Electric and its offshore installation partner Van Oord Offshore Wind UK successfully join SSEN Transmission’s Framework of Contractors for future HVDC Cables, alongside NKT

SSEN Transmission is announcing it has selected Hitachi Energy as ‘preferred bidder’ for the HVDC Converter System and NKT as ‘preferred bidder’ for the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Cable for its Western Isles and Spittal-Peterhead subsea links, a critical milestone in the development of these essential projects.

The Western Isles and Spittal-Peterhead HVDC links are part of a major upgrade of the electricity transmission network across Great Britain that is required to help meet the UK and Scottish Governments 2030 renewable energy and climate change targets.

These projects will also help secure the county’s future energy independence by enabling the connection and transportation of affordable and homegrown low carbon power, reducing the country’s dependence on - and price exposure to - volatile global wholesale energy markets.

SSEN Transmission can also confirm that Sumitomo Electric and its offshore installation partner Van Oord Offshore Wind UK have been successful in becoming part of SSEN Transmission’s Framework of Contractors to potentially deliver future subsea cable projects, alongside NKT.

More detail on these future projects is expected later this year when the GB Electricity System Operator, National Grid ESO, sets out the additional electricity transmission infrastructure required to connect and transport ScotWind’s full ambition of around 28GW of offshore wind, with current 2030 network development plans enabling around 11GW of ScotWind’s full potential.  This is expected to include the requirement for several new HVDC links.

Another key consideration in the tender process was the encouragement of local content, with all three supply chain partners scoring highly in this regard.  Upon completion of contract award, SSEN Transmission will set out further details of the plans to deliver jobs and economic growth across the north of Scotland and beyond, supporting the significant local and national economic opportunities these investments will unlock.

"Reaching preferred bidder status for the Western Isles and Spittal-Peterhead HVDC cables and converter systems is a hugely important step to support the timely delivery of these projects, particularly given global supply chain constraints in HVDC technology, and is testament to our targeted procurement strategy which prioritised securing these key components at the earliest opportunity."

Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission

Rob continued:

“As we aim to conclude contract negotiations in the coming weeks and months, we look forward to building on our long-established and strong working relationship with Hitachi Energy and NKT. 

“We are also delighted that Sumitomo Electric and its offshore installation partner Van Oord Offshore Wind UK, have also secured a place on our contractors’ framework for future HVDC projects, with significant further opportunities expected to come from ongoing system design work.  Further details on these future projects and supply chain opportunities are expected later this year.

“As well as supporting delivery of UK and Scottish Government net zero and energy security targets, our forthcoming investments will provide significant local and national economic opportunities, helping unleash the economic potential of the north of Scotland.”

Niklas Persson, Managing Director at Hitachi Energy’s Grid Integration business, said:

“We’re proud to once again collaborate with SSEN Transmission and be part of their journey to advance a sustainability energy future for all, as we continue to set the benchmark for deploying innovative solutions at scale and with speed.  This business model reflects our strategy to secure clear visibility of the future and, based on this, we are already hiring to expand our global delivery capacity.”

Claes Westerlind, NKT President and CEO, said:

“We are very excited to be selected as the preferred bidder by SSEN Transmission for these two Scottish HVDC transmission links. This appointment is an opportunity to further strengthen the excellent collaboration that has been cultivated between the parties with the Caithness-Moray HVDC Link, and the ongoing Shetland HVDC Link. We also look forward to continuing our support to the decarbonization of the power system in Great Britain”.

Yasuyuki Shibata, Managing Executive Officer of Sumitomo Electric, said:

“Sumitomo Electric, along with its offshore partner Van Oord Offshore Wind UK, is delighted to be selected as a Preferred Bidder for SSEN Transmission’s future HVDC cable projects framework. We look forward to continuing contract negotiations with SSEN Transmission in the coming months and working together to develop a potential future project allocation strategy.”

Reaching ‘preferred bidder’ status for these major projects, as part of a committed framework, follows an open and transparent competitive procurement process in line with all necessary Utility Contract Regulations, providing momentum to support SSEN Transmission meeting its targeted project energisation dates in 2030.

Contract negotiations will now continue over the coming weeks with the aim of entering into Capacity Reservation Agreements and thereafter reaching ‘Contract Award’ status later this year.