Renewable energy students from Orkney were able to see a working example of theory being put into practice during a recent visit to SSEN’s Spittal Substation in Caithness.
The students, who are studying Renewable Energy Development and Marine Energy Engineering at Heriot Watt University’s Orkney-based International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT), were given a tour of Spittal, which will become the northern hub of a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) underground and subsea cable system capable of transporting up to 1200MW of electricity over 100 miles to Blackhillock, near Keith, in Moray.
The £1.1 billion Caithness-Moray project will see a major reinforcement of the transmission network serving the north of Scotland and is needed to enable proposed wind, wave and tidal generation sites to connect. There are four main elements to the project, which will encompass work at eight substation sites, two converter stations and two overhead line reinforcement projects – as well as the installation of the HVDC cable itself.
Presentations were provided to the students before setting off on a tour around the site, which has been in construction since Spring 2016.
The presentations were given by William Espie, SSEN Site Supervisor, who said: “We were delighted to welcome the Heriot Watt students back to the site. This is the third year that we have brought students from the ICIT campus to let them see the progress we have made on the development of the substation.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring the students to the project, to bring their studies to life and gain an understanding of the potential impact that they will play as engineers in the future.”
One of the students, Elsa Ramirez, who is studying a Masters in Marine Renewable Energy, said: “Today’s visit was really insightful and allowed me to realise how SSEN is taking charge of the challenge of updating the grid. It is always good to see the real application of the theory I have been learning during the last year.”
Eve Johnstone, who is also studying a Masters in Marine Renewable Energy, added: “I thoroughly enjoyed the visit today, seeing the physical size of the structure in comparison to the drawing and the operations were well explained. I am thankful for the opportunity.”
Spittal substation is a new electricity converter station at Achanarras, near Spittal, Caithness. It is expected to be completed by Summer 2018.
The dedicated project page can be viewed here.