East Coast subsea link gets approval for Final Needs Case

Ofgem has given the green light for preparing the Final Needs Case stage of the regulatory approvals process for the East Coast subsea HVDC link that will connect Scotland and England.

The UK energy market regulator gave the approval on Friday, 5 November, for the first two of a series of planned subsea electricity transmission HVDC links connecting Scotland and England along the east coast.

The Peterhead to Selby link, expected to be operational in 2029, will be progressed jointly by SSEN Transmission and National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), while the Torness to Hawthorn Pit link, with a targeted energization date of 2027, will be progressed 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, it will be followed by the Project Assessment, which will determine the level of investment requirement for the project. 

“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,” said Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission.

“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.”

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According to SSEN, the initial two links, each with a capacity of 2GW, are essential to alleviate constraints on Great Britain’s transmission system, enable growth in renewables and support the transition to net-zero emissions. 

For every year the links are not in place, hundreds of millions of pounds of GB consumers’ money is paid out in constraint payments, thus it is essential that there are no delays to project delivery, the company added.