SSEN Transmission has started work to install 10km of underground cable in Shetland and Caithness, marking a major milestone for the 600MW Shetland HVDC project.
The onshore cable will run from the converter station at Kergord in Shetland and the switching station at Noss Head in Caithness to the subsea cable landfall points.
Once installed it will connect with the 260km subsea HVDC cable which will enable Shetland’s connection to the national grid for the first time and facilitate the connection of new renewable generation, unlocking Shetland’s clean power potential.
The cable installation works are being carried out by SSEN Transmission’s principal contractor NKT and follows progress made on the construction of the switching station at Noss Head and the converter station at Kergord.
Lead project manager Chris Finnigan said: “It’s great to see the cable installation getting underway and see Shetland’s connection to the UK grid for the first time becoming a reality.
“It is a significant milestone for the project, it has taken a lot of hard work and collaboration with our colleagues at NKT to get to this stage.
“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who lives along the respective onshore cable routes for their co-operation and understanding and look forward to delivering the 260km of cabling safely and with the least amount of disruption possible.”
NKT project director Arne Abrahamsson said “This is a truly significant project, not only in terms of its technical complexity but also the role the project will play in the transition to net zero emissions once it is complete.”
“It has been quite a journey to get to this point in the project, and we are delighted to see everyone’s hard work and the months of planning and pre-construction work coming to fruition.”
NKT has also started work on the manufacture of both the land and submarine cables, joints and terminations in preparation for installation works, next year.
In addition to preparing to start the onshore cable installation SSEN Transmission have also been carrying out marine surveys ahead of the installation of the subsea cable section which is expected to start in late summer 2022.
The survey vessel Nordhoek Pathfinder is conducting pre-lay surveys that are carried out to create an update picture of the of the subsea cable route from Caithness to Shetland.
For the nearshore route, an autonomous survey vessel has been surveying the cable route close to the Shetland shoreline at Weisdale Voe.
The data captured will help to ensure the cable route is designed and constructed to suitably protect the cable and other sea users from harm.