Status: Early Development
Stage 2 of 5 complete — This is the stage where we narrow down the details of a project and propose a preferred solution.
About the Project
Orkney - Caithness 220kV HVAC Subsea Link
The project scope is to design and install a high voltage alternating current (HVAC) transmission system between Finstown in Orkney and Dounreay in Caithness, capable of transmitting no less than 220MW of power. This transmission system is to be composed of the following components:
Finstown (Orkney) Substation
A new build substation, designed as the connection point to the grid for local generators around Orkney. The substation will transform the voltage to 220kV for transmission of this power to the UK mainland. This substation will also provide a grid connection point for local power distribution.
An Onshore HVAC Cable
Approximately 14km in length, connecting the Finstown Substation to the Subsea Cable Landfall point, terminating at Warebeth on the West Coast of the Orkney Mainland.
A Subsea HVAC Cable
Approximately 53km in length, connecting the landfall at Warebeth, to Dounreay on the Caithness coast of the UK mainland, then a short underground cable section to the Dounreay Substation.
Dounreay West Substation
A new build substation to facilitate connection to the national grid. This will step up the voltage to 275kV for the connection into the existing infrastructure at the current Dounreay Substation, where there will also be some modification work. In 2019 Public Consultations took place in both Orkney and Reay on the Mainland where community members had the opportunity to hear about the project and give feedback to the project team.
Why is the Project Required?
The Orkney Islands are home to some of the world’s greatest resources of renewable electricity, from established onshore wind to emerging marine technologies, where Orkney is at the forefront of global developments in marine energy generation.
The Orkney transmission link will enable the connection of up to 220MW of new renewable electricity and consists of a new substation at Finstown in Orkney, and around 53km of subsea cable, connecting to a new substation at Dounreay in Caithness.
All planning consents are in place for the point-to-point connection, with work underway to plan the on-island infrastructure required to connect and transport Orkney renewable generators to Finstown Substation, before onward transmission to demand centres in the north of Scotland and beyond. We welcomed the publication by Ofgem in which the energy regulator has given its final approval of need for long awaited and much needed plans to provide a subsea electricity transmission link to Orkney.
Throughout the life of our projects, we aim to work positively with local communities and keep people informed about what we are doing. This is particularly important when we are developing a proposal and we want to understand what local people think about our plans.
We endeavour to take the time to discuss proposals with local community councils, encourage engagement from the wider community and listen to the feedback we receive.
We will do our best to answer any questions and address issues or concerns that are raised with us.
When our project progresses into construction, we will continue working closely with the local community to ensure that our work has as little impact on the lives of those living and working in the area and as many long term positive effects as possible.
How we’re embracing artificial intelligence (AI)
We intend to use AI to assist our experienced teams in the analysis of your feedback, so we can categorise key points raised more quickly. You can learn more about how we’re utilising AI on this dedicated web page.
Ground and site investigation works commence
Ground and site investigation (GI/SI) works will commence at the Finstown substation site, Orkney, as part of the Orkney-Caithness 220kV Transmission Link project. The GI/SI Works will start this week to support the design development process.
A small team of contractors will be on site installing boreholes and carry out trial pits. Ground water monitoring will continue for a period of months thereafter.
If you have any questions relating to this please contact the Community Liaison Manager, Jeni Herbert. (Orkney.Engagement@sse.com).
Thank you to those who attended our events
Over 65 businesses attended our meet the buyer event with more visiting us at the County Show.
We hope that those community members who attended the meet the team event and our stand at the County Show recevied the information they were looking for. There was lots of really engaging conversations throughout the day.
We certainly enjoyed meeting you all and look forward to seeing you again soon. In the meantime if anyone has any questions then please email Orkney.Engagement@sse.com
Meet the project team
Feel free to drop in on the 10th of August anytime between 2pm and 7pm to meet the project team, hear how the project is progressing and ask any question you may have.
Meet the buyer event
collaboration with Nexans and BAM, will be hosting a Meet the
Buyer event, providing local businesses the opportunity to attend
a drop-in session.
As part of the project, we are welcoming local businesses to attend
this informal drop-in meeting to engage with our Principal
Contractor, exchange details and discuss the possible opportunities
for the local supply chain.
This project has the potential to create local business opportunities
in the following fields: accommodation, security, fencing, skip hire,
catering, cleaning services, PPE/office equipment, plant, taxi
services, drinking water supplies.
We would encourage any relevant local businesses to attend this
event and discuss what possible business opportunities there are
with our Principal Contractor.
Please do drop in anytime between 2pm and 7pm on Wednesday 9th August in the King St Hall, Kirkwall.
Young people from schools across Orkney showcased their innovation at a recent STEM Celebration event organised by SCDI’s Young Engineers and Science Club (YESC). They displayed an amazing range of different activities, experiments and research projects that the schools and clubs had been taking part in over the school year.
Around 70 young people gathered to compete in a variety of Science Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) challenges set by industry who provided an insight of the different career paths available in the STEM sector.
Schools received a free STEM Resource kit to take part in the Pylon Challenge. Their models were designed to take renewable electricity from an offshore tidal energy turbine to homes across the islands, were tested on the day.
Thomas Wild, Head of YESC said:
“YESC aims to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders and our event, supported by Orbital Marine Power and SSEN Transmission, brought pupils and schools together from across Orkney to have fun whilst learning. The celebration inspires pupils to showcase their innovation and helps them develop valuable skills and knowledge whilst encouraging uptake in STEM subjects and careers.”
The event was delivered through funding from SSEN Transmission and Orbital Marine Power.
Jeni Herbert, SSEN Transmission Community Liaison Manager said:
“We were delighted to support the Future of STEM event in Orkney, and were really impressed with the enthusiasm, creativity and teamwork that pupils showed when addressing the STEM challenges presented to them. With so many exciting projects being developed in the area as the country moves towards a Net Zero future, this is an excellent time for young people to engage with science, technology and engineering.”
Archaeology works - Warbeth, Orkney
Initial response to latest round of consultation
Alignment Consultation Documents
Dounby and Orkney County Show
Alternative Approach Consultation Feedback
Public Consultation Events
SSEN launch consultation to help unlock Orkney's vast renewable potential
Peat probing surveys will be carried out end of May / early June
The first Community Liaison Group meeting
Orkney Consultation Report May 2017
Community Liaison Group
Orkney Project Public Information Events - Thank you
Public consultation events
Consultation on treatment of non-mainland GB onshore wind projects
Orkney-Caithness 220kV HVAC Subsea link information booklet August 2023
- 03 August 2023
- 1.7 MB
Orkney Consultation Booklet - September 2018
- 18 September 2022
- 30.6 MB
Unlocking Orkneys Renewable Potential - June 2018
- 18 September 2022
- 3 MB
Please have a look through the progress gallery to view the development of the project in Orkney.
Finstown Substation Visualisations - September 2018
Please see adjacent both aerial and road view visualisations of the proposed Finstown Substation. Below you will find two videos of the 3D model of the substation from aerial views.
SSEN Transmission is responsible for maintaining and investing in the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland and our network extends over a quarter of the UK’s land mass, crossing some of its most challenging terrain.
Our operating area is home to vast renewable energy resources, and this is being harnessed by wind, hydro and marine generation. Working closely with National Grid Electricity System Operator (the 'ESO'), we enable electricity generators to connect to the transmission system, allowing the electricity generated by them to be transported to areas of demand across the country.
It’s the highest voltage electricity network in the UK – the ‘motorway network’ of the energy world. It transmits large quantities of electricity over long distances via wires carried on a system of mainly metal towers (pylons) and large substations. Transmission voltages in Scotland are 132kV, 275kV and 400kV. Larger generation schemes usually connect to the Transmission system.
The lower voltage parts of the system are called distribution networks. In Scotland, these local networks operate below 132kV whereas in England the distribution network includes 132kV.
Following a minority stake sale which completed in November 2022, SSEN Transmission is now owned 75% by SSE plc and 25% by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.
SSE plc sold its UK domestic electricity and gas retail business, along with domestic energy services to OVO Energy in January 2020 and no longer manages these customer accounts.
As a stakeholder-led business, throughout the life of our projects, we aim to work positively with local communities and keep people informed about what we are doing. This is particularly important when we are developing new projects, we want to understand what local people think about our plans.
We always endeavour to take the time to discuss our proposals with local community councils and the wider affected community and to carry out engagement throughout each of the development stages, listening to feedback before finalising project plans. The feedback we receive is vital to help us develop proposals that reflect the views of a variety of stakeholder.
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