A group of north engineers recently got the lowdown on the progress of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) Caithness-Moray transmission reinforcement from a leading member of the team delivering the project.

Local members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) invited SSEN Lead Project Manager Michael Blake, who is overseeing installation of the onshore sections of the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cable between Caithness and Moray, to explain the work under way and answer questions.

Around 25 engineers from a wide range of backgrounds assembled at Mackays Hotel in Wick on Wednesday 23 November to learn more about the project.

Commenting afterwards, Michael Blake said:

“It was a pleasure to speak to what was a very interested and knowledgeable audience about the work we are doing locally.

“Meetings like this provide a great opportunity to share some of the diverse challenges involved with our work and what we’ve learned while tackling them. Hopefully I was able to put our work in its context of the changing role of the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland, the fast growth of renewable generation and the technology that is being applied all over the world in response.

“It was interesting to hear questions and perspectives from professionals with a wide range of experience and expertise. There was interest in visiting the site to see some of the work still ongoing and I hope it will be possible to arrange this in the new year.”

HVDC systems have been used before in Great Britain for international interconnectors, but Caithness-Moray will be the first use of a Voltage Source Converter (VSC) HVDC system as part of the core transmission system. The technology is well suited to the role it will play in the north of Scotland’s renewed electricity network, with Caithness playing a leading role in its innovative deployment. A wide range of engineering challenges are also involved in the cable’s installation, which is already largely complete between Spittal and Noss Head in Caithness. Onshore cable work is currently under way in Moray with marine cable installation expected to take place in the Moray Firth next year. The Caithness-Moray project as a whole is due for completion by the end of 2018.

Lead Project Manager Michael Blake speaking to local engineers about the Caithness-Moray transmission project

Lead Project Manager Michael Blake speaking to local members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) about the Caithness-Moray transmission reinforcement at Mackays Hotel in Wick

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