Subsea Expo

Access. Connect. Grow.

SSE Decides Subsea Project ‘Not in Strategic Interest’

08 March 2013

Perth-based utility company SSE has confirmed it will no longer take a financial stake in an ambitious project to build a subsea electricity cable between the UK and Norway.

The NorthConnect project — backed by First Minister Alex Salmond — aims to provide a new grid interconnection between the UK and Europe.

NorthConnect was established in February 2011 through an agreement between Agder Energi, E-CO, Lyse, SSE and Vattenfall AB.

In Perth last August the company achieved a milestone agreement with the National Grid to secure a network connection point at Peterhead.

The interconnector — still being pursued by the other project partners — is seen as key to the development of offshore renewables in the North Sea and Scandinavia.

However, SSE yesterday said it was no longer providing financial backing for the project. It said the decision was in line with its stated intention — outlined in its financial report for the six months to September 30, 2012 — to focus on core markets in the UK and Ireland.

The firm is also selling its interests in a generation pipeline of almost 900MW in Scandinavia.

An announcement on the sale of the company’s Swedish portfolio is expected within weeks.

SSE last night said: "Following an internal review of the project it was deemed that a combination of the need to focus on core markets, the number of alternative investment opportunities available (particularly in network and generation assets) and the lack of short-term clarity on the regulatory regime around interconnectors meant that continuing the project was not in SSE’s strategic interest.

"SSE continues to be supportive of the project itself, as well as increased commercially developed interconnection, and will retain contact with the other owners should priorities change.”