North Sea Link, world’s longest under-sea electricity cable, begins operation

Offshore wind farm in the north sea off the UK coast (North Sea Link)
Image: Shutterstock

North Sea Link, a 720km-long subsea cable that connects the UK and Norway so they can share renewable energy, has begun operation and is now the longest under-sea electricity cable in the world.

The North Sea Link is a joint venture between Britain’s National Grid and Norway’s Statnett and will harness Norway’s hydropower and the UK’s wind energy resources.

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According to National Grid, when Britain’s wind production is high and demand for electricity is low, the system will facilitate exports to Norway. This will in turn help to conserve water in the latter’s reservoirs. When demand is high in Britain and there is low wind generation, hydro power can be imported from Norway.

The project links the English town of Blyth to Kvilldal in Norway and will have an initial maximum capacity of 700MW, which will increase to 1,400MW when it reaches full capacity in three months time.

North Sea Link is National Grid’s fifth interconnector. Last November, it announced plans for a multi-billion pound “underwater energy superhighway” which would allow electricity produced in Scotland to be sent to the northeast of England.

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The Eastern Link project, as it’s known, is to focus on the development of a pair of high-voltage direct current cables that will have a total capacity of up to 4GW.

The project, which is in the early stages of development, would connect two points in Scotland—Peterhead and Torness—to Selby and Hawthorn Point in England.