Sub-sea electricity cable from Scotland to Norway planned

Feb 04, 2011 by Lin Edwards report

( -- A study into a proposed North Sea interconnector will examine the possibility of a sub-sea electricity cable linking Scotland and Norway, according to an announcement earlier this week in Aberdeen by Scotland's First Minister, Mr Alex Salmond.

Mr Salmond said an integrated grid would contribute to the European sustainable energy policy, and that connections from Scotland to Norway and mainland Europe were essential.

Mr Salmond announced the signing of the agreement between a subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy, SSE Interconnector, and three Scandinavian utilities to study the feasibility of building an interconnector to carry power between Scandinavia and the UK. He said the north-east of Scotland was the ideal location and this makes Scotland “ideally placed” to become the green powerhouse of Europe.

The Scandinavian partners to the agreement are Swedish utility company Vattenfall and Norwegian utilities Lyse, E-CO Energi, and Agder Energi. The jointly owned development company will be known as NorthConnect. Independent, not-for-profit group The Scottish European Green Energy Centre has contributed 50,000 Euros towards the search for the best route for the cable.

Scotland and Norway both have diverse and complementary ways of producing electricity, and an interconnector would allow them to share the resources and maximize supplies of low-carbon sources of electricity. Norway has flexible hydro-electricity sources, while Scotland has wind power sources, and so Scotland could import electricity on still days and export its excess on windy days.

The high voltage, direct current (HVDC) cable between Scotland and Norway would be capable of carrying 1,200 to 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, and could be in place by 2020. Initial estimates are that it would need to be between 550 and 700 km long. NorthConnect will spend the next few years analyzing the economic and technical viability of the project.

Head of Vattenfall's Asset Optimization and Trading department, Harald von Heyden, said NorthConnect would increase competition in regional areas and provide a more secure supply of with more stable prices.

The UK is already connected to Ireland and France, and a sub-sea cable carrying 1,000 MW between the UK and the Netherlands will open in April this year. has cables to Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, and a cable to Germany is under construction.

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2.5 / 5 (2) Feb 04, 2011
Interesting that it would be DC. I thought AC was far more efficient than DC for long range power transmission.
4.7 / 5 (3) Feb 04, 2011
Interesting that it would be DC. I thought AC was far more efficient than DC for long range power transmission.

AC has the capability of conducting through insulators, which makes the transmission line leak more the longer it is. At sufficiently long runs of wire, it also starts to act like a radio transmitter, which pretty much sets a hard limit on how long you can make an AC transmission line.

The problem of DC was in domestic lines, because it had to be 120 or 240 volts all the way from the power station to the house, since it couldn't be transformed. That caused huge ohmic losses over distance, since the current had to be high to transmit any power.
1 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2011
Ha ha, sweet deal for Scotland, trading wind power for hydro power. The hydro will always be ready and online, whereas the wind will let you down just when you need it the most. I guess in this case Norway really gets nothing and Scotland gets Norway to be backup for their wind power.
not rated yet Feb 05, 2011
Sounds like a sound plan. This, coupled with Europe's current announcement of a 1 trillion dollar commitment to be free of middle east energy (www(dot)physor(dot0com/news/2011-02-europe-trillion-euro-energy-revamp(dot)html)
is good energy management for the future.
not rated yet Feb 05, 2011
@Nartoon, do you think that both sides would be pursuing this project if there wasn't something in it for them. Hydro power is dependant on how much water is stored behind the dam and there isn't always enough to be used for generation. Probably, the plan is to the Norwegian hydro power sites as pumped storage.
not rated yet Feb 05, 2011
Probably, the plan is to the Norwegian hydro power sites as pumped storage.
Right, pumped storage for the excess windmill power. Right.

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