SSEN Transmission and National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) have taken a big step forward in the development of a new subsea electricity superhighway project along the east coast of the UK after reaching an agreement on the terms of their joint venture (JV). 

The ‘Eastern Green Link 2’ (EGL2) project will create a 525kW, 2GW high voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea transmission cable from Peterhead in Scotland to Drax in England. The UK’s single largest electricity transmission project ever.

The subsea HVDC cable system is approximately 436km in length, with new converter stations at either end to connect it to the existing transmission network infrastructure. High-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology provides the most efficient and reliable means of transmitting large amounts of power over long distances subsea.  

The EGL2 link will support the growth of new renewable electricity generation, creating jobs and delivering a pathway to net zero emissions targets, as well as helping to alleviate existing constraints on the electricity network.

Eastern Green Link 2 is part of the significant new network infrastructure required for net zero and will play a critical role in supporting the UK’s future security of supply, reducing dependence and price exposure to volatile global wholesale gas markets. 

After nine months of work from projects teams at SSEN Transmission and NGET, the JV shareholders’ agreement was signed by Maz Alkirwi, SSEN Transmission’s Finance Director and Carl Trowell, National Grid’s President for UK Strategic Infrastructure, at an official ceremony in London last week, allowing the joint venture to be formally established. 

Commenting on the signing of the JV agreement, Maz said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve signed our first Joint Venture agreement with National Grid to deliver EGL2. Connecting the North of Scotland down to Northern England and transporting renewable power to communities across the country is crucial in delivering government targets for tackling climate change.

“It’s a massive credit to the teams at SSEN Transmission and NGET for getting us to this big milestone.

“It’s an important moment in a major investment in critical national infrastructure, and we’re looking forward to working with National Grid on its delivery.

Following on from Maz, Carl said: “The government ambition of 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 demands unprecedented scale and complexity of action. It’s essential that we find new ways to work and unite as a sector to rise to this challenge and this joint venture with SSEN is a prime example.

“Eastern Green Link 2 is part of our Great Grid Upgrade, the largest overhaul of the grid in generations. This new infrastructure will connect more clean, renewable energy from where it’s generated to where it’s needed, helping contribute to lower energy bills over the long term and make the UK’s energy more self-sufficient.

“Congratulations to all the colleagues involved, and we now look forward to working with SSEN as the project continues to develop.”

Work to progress the project will now be taken forward as a formal joint venture between SSEN Transmission and NGET. Following final approval from Ofgem, work is expected to commence in 2024, with a targeted operational date of 2029. 

SSEN Transmission will be investing over £10bn to upgrade the network around key areas, connecting new onshore and offshore renewables generation in the north of Scotland, as part of its ‘Pathway to 2030’ programme, supporting the delivery of Scotland and the UK’s net zero targets. The programme comprises nine significant onshore and subsea projects, including EGL2.

National Grid has launched ‘The Great Grid Upgrade’, the largest overhaul of the grid in generations and a multi-billion investment in new electricity transmission projects across England and Wales. The Upgrade, which will help move more clean energy from where it’s generated to where it’s needed and play a major role in the UK moving towards its net zero target, include three further subsea links between Scotland and England and proposals in the Humber and East Anglia (including a further subsea link between Suffolk and Kent). 

Image source: Courtesy of SSEN Transmission

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