Planning authorities have consented to a huge new subsea transmission project between England and Scotland. The new electricity superhighway will connect the offshore projects with the longest HVDC cable in the UK, providing enough transmission capacity for over two million homes once operational.
The project is being developed by the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) and National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET). Local authorities have granted planning access, along with Marine Scotland and England's Marine Management Organisation.
The Eastern Green Link 2 (EGL2) is being described as a key part of the UK's work towards meeting its legal net zero obligations, in addition to a means of providing reliable supplies of clean, green and secure energy, something that has been a particular issue since Russia invaded Ukraine and global gas prices rocketed.
When the project is operational, it will operate from a convertor station being built at Peterhead under the North Sea, to the East Yorkshire coast, where it will finish at a landfall point in Fraisthorpe. The subsea cable will be 436 km long and conclude next to Drax power station for maximum efficiency.
The project is expected to move into the build phase in 2024, with the aim of becoming operational in 2029. Long-distance HVDC cables are one of the critical enablers of the much-needed grid upgrades that are being prioritised to meet net-zero carbon emission goals for 2035. Insufficient grid infrastructure means that renewable power cannot be used to its maximum capacity, although generation power exists. These constraints mean that generators are being heavily subsidised with payments when they cannot export excess supply during periods of low local demand. Better grid infrastructure should remove the need for these payments, whilst maximising clean energy use across the UK.