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Cable to Norway Could be Subsea 'Supergrid'

29 September 2011

Plans for a subsea power cable that would enable the export and import of electricity between Scotland and Norway have been submitted.

The proposal was described by a Scottish Government spokesman as the "genesis" of the drive towards development of a supergrid that connects Scotland to electricity markets across Europe.

NorthConnect, a Norwegian company jointly owned by Scottish and Southern Energy, Agder Energi, Lyse and Vattenfall has lodged its application with National Grid.

The 354 mile, 1,400MW cable would come to land at Peterhead, where it would connect to the electricity grid.

It would be the first cable to connect Scotland's network to that of mainland Europe.

Those behind the plans say it will bring better security of energy supply, contribute to more stable energy prices for consumers and encourage development of renewable generation.

Odd Øygarden, chairman of the board of NorthConnect, said: "We are sure that there is a real requirement to more closely link the electricity markets of Scandinavia and Great Britain together as this will bring benefits in terms of security of supply, deployment of additional renewable generation and more efficient generation in both regions."

Scotland is expected to generate large amounts of offshore wind power, whereas Norway has vast amounts of hydro power, meeting most of its electricity needs.

The cable would allow export and import between countries, potentially enabling low carbon supply with less need for back-up from fossil fuels.

It could also open up wider markets for Scotland's surplus renewable energy.

Norway is already connected to Denmark and the Netherlands, and there are plans for a connector to Germany.

The Scottish Government has targets of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020, but the same again from fossil fuels, meaning it could have a large surplus to export.

"An interconnector will connect our growth market UK with the Nordic market, contribute to security of supply in both regions and combine intermittent renewable capacities," Harald von Heyden, head of asset optimisation and Trading at Vattenfall.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The EU recognises that an integrated European grid is essential to ensure Scotland's resources fully contribute to Europe's sustainable energy future.

"These plans constitute the first, vital step towards the integration of Scotland's electricity network into such a pan-European grid."

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: "Connections to the rest of the UK and ultimately to other parts of Europe are essential if we are to maximise the potential of Scotland's renewable resources, and therefore if we are to build new manufacturing sectors to support offshore wind and wave and tidal energy sectors."