Ofgem approves Final Needs Case for Eastern HVDC subsea links

UK energy market regulator Ofgem has approved the Final Needs Case (FNC) for the proposed Eastern HVDC electricity transmission projects, conditional on the projects securing the necessary planning consent.

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), SP Transmission and Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission submitted the Final Needs Case for the project in December 2021.

Ofgem published a consultation on its views on the two submissions in March and has now issued a document that confirms its decision to approve the Final Needs Case for the projects.

“We are satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate the needs case for the Eastern HVDC projects. Having taken into consideration the eight consultation responses received, and considering the projected increase in renewable generation on the pathway to achieving the Scottish and UK Governments’ legally binding Net Zero goals, we are satisfied that there remains a need for both links,” Ofgem stated.

The proposal for Eastern HVDC consists of two separate reinforcement projects, including Torness to Hawthorn Pit subsea HVDC link and Peterhead to Drax subsea HVDC link.

The first is prepared by a joint project team from SP Transmission and NGET and is expected to be operational from 2027, while the second is prepared by a joint project team from SSENT and NGET and is expected to be operational from 2029.

Due to similarity in most elements, close interaction between the two, and because the Initial Needs Case (INC) stage focused on both projects together, Ofgem said it had consulted on both projects together at the FNC stage.

According to the UK regulator, the three electricity transmission owners “suitably considered all feasible options and demonstrated that the two proposed HVDC projects remain the options that deliver greatest benefit for consumers”.

Related Article

The Eastern HVDC projects are proposed electricity transmission projects to construct two high voltage direct current links, with capacity of 2 GW each, down the east coast from Scotland to the north-east of England.

The purpose is the transmission of electricity generated in Scotland down past the congested network around the border to England. The estimated cost for the two links is £3.4 billion.

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