SSEN Transmission welcomes Friday’s decision by Ofgem to proceed to the Final Needs Case stage of the regulatory approvals process for the first two of a series of planned subsea electricity transmission HVDC links connecting Scotland and England along the east coast.

The initial two links, each with a capacity of 2GW, are essential to alleviate constraints on the GB transmission system, enable growth in renewables and support the transition to net zero emissions.  They will also support hundreds of green jobs throughout construction and operation, playing a key role in the green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission, said:

“We welcome Ofgem’s timely decision which will allow progression of the Final Needs Case for the East Coast HVDC links, recognising the need and urgency for these investments.

“With the eyes of the world on Glasgow as the UK hosts COP26, the two proposed HVDC links are critical to support efforts to tackle the climate emergency, supporting the UK and Scottish Government’s 2030 offshore wind targets and the transition to net zero emissions. Ofgem’s decision therefore marks a critical milestone in the regulatory approvals process. 

“We now look forward to working constructively with Ofgem and other stakeholders to unlock the investment required and secure the supply chain, in a timely manner, to build the first phase of an underwater superhighway of electricity transmission.”

For every year these links are not in place, hundreds of millions of pounds of GB consumers money is paid out in constraint payments. It is therefore essential that there are no delays to the delivery of this critical national infrastructure.

The Peterhead to Selby link, which has a targeted energisation date of 2029, will be progressed jointly by SSEN Transmission and National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET); and the Torness to Hawthorn Pit link, with a targeted energisation date of 2027, to be progressed jointly by SP Energy Networks and NGET. 

The Final Needs Case remains on track to be submitted to Ofgem for regulatory approval in December.  If approved, this will be followed by the Project Assessment, which will determine the level of investment requirement for the project. 

To further support the forecast growth in renewables, particularly offshore wind and the UK and Scottish Government’s 2030 targets of 40GW and 11GW respectively, a second series of HVDC links from Scotland to England is also planned. 

As part of the UK Government’s Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR), the three GB Transmission Owners are working with Government, Ofgem, the GB Electricity System Operator (ESO) and wider industry to help accelerate the significant investment in transmission infrastructure required to deliver a pathway to these 2030 targets.

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