Hitachi Energy, Sumitomo Electric and Van Oord selected for Scottish subsea cable projects

Just shortly after announcing NKT as the preferred bidder for the power cable systems, SSEN Transmission revealed it had selected Hitachi Energy to deliver the HVDC converter system for two HVDC transmission links offshore Scotland.

HVDC converter station at Blackhillock, Scotland, one of the two stations in the Caithness Moray Link. Source: Hitachi Energy

Hitachi Energy has been given the preferred supplier status for the supply of multiple onshore high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations for the Western Isles and Spittal-Peterhead subsea links.

The parties signed a framework agreement that includes the deployment of up to five HVDC power corridors, or electricity transmission superhighways, to enable large amounts of future renewable power to be transported from northern Scotland to areas of higher consumption in the south. 

The first two projects are the Western Isles and Spittal-Peterhead links, while the three additional projects are flexible in location, and to be defined as large-scale studies are finalized.

Source: Hitachi Energy

Each of these connection systems has a capacity of up to 2 GW and a voltage level of 525 kV. The total 10 GW of renewable electricity capacity would provide the equivalent power consumption for around 10 million UK homes.

The HVDC links are expected to become operational in 2030 and onwards.

Hitachi Energy is collaborating with SSE on several HVDC projects in the UK, such as the Caithness Moray and Shetland links. The company recently announced a large-scale agreement with TenneT to supply 12 GW of offshore wind connections in the Netherlands and Germany.

“We’re proud to once again collaborate with SSEN Transmission and be part of their journey to advance a sustainable energy future for all, as we continue to set the benchmark for deploying innovative solutions at scale and with speed,” said Niklas Persson, Managing Director at Hitachi Energy’s Grid Integration business.

“This business model reflects our strategy to secure clear visibility of the future and, based on this, we are already hiring to expand our global delivery capacity.”

Furthermore, SSEN Transmission revealed that Sumitomo Electric and its offshore installation partner Van Oord Offshore Wind UK were successful in becoming part of the Framework of Contractors to potentially deliver future subsea cable projects, alongside NKT. 

More detail on these future projects is expected later this year when National Grid ESO sets out the additional electricity transmission infrastructure required to connect and transport ScotWind’s full ambition of around 28 GW of offshore wind, with current 2030 network development plans enabling around 11 GW of ScotWind’s full potential. This is expected to include the requirement for several new HVDC links.

According to SSEN Transmission, another key consideration in the tender process was the encouragement of local content, with all three supply chain partners scoring highly in this regard. Upon completion of contract awards, SSEN Transmission will set out further details of the plans to deliver jobs and economic growth across the north of Scotland and beyond, supporting the local and national economic opportunities the investments will unlock.

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“Reaching preferred bidder status for the Western Isles and Spittal-Peterhead HVDC cables and converter systems is a hugely important step to support the timely delivery of these projects, particularly given global supply chain constraints in HVDC technology, and is testament to our targeted procurement strategy which prioritised securing these key components at the earliest opportunity,” said Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission.

“As we aim to conclude contract negotiations in the coming weeks and months, we look forward to building on our long-established and strong working relationship with Hitachi Energy and NKT. We are also delighted that Sumitomo Electric and its offshore installation partner Van Oord Offshore Wind UK, have also secured a place on our contractors’ framework for future HVDC projects, with significant further opportunities expected to come from ongoing system design work.”

To read all about Scottish transmission projects click HERE.