Construction has begun on what will be the world’s longest sub-sea electricity interconnector that will link the United Kingdom and Denmark grids, both increasingly dominated by renewables.
The 760km Viking Link Interconnector project will enable a more efficient and effective use of renewable energy, access to sustainable electricity generation, and improved electricity supply security, its backers say.
Set to connect the substation Revsing in southern Jutland, Denmark, and Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire, Great Britain, Viking Link is being developed by National Grid and Denmark’s own transmission system operator, Energinet.
The 760km-long interconnector will include the world’s longest subsea power cable, a 625km-long high-voltage direct current (HVDC) with a capacity of 1.4GW.
Siemens Energy was appointed to construct the UK and Denmark converter stations on both ends of the interconnector link, with UK work beginning in July to build a new access road to the site.
“We’ve already completed the initial groundwork with archaeological and ecological surveys as well as water works studies, however this is a key construction milestone for the project,” said Mike Elmer, Viking Link Project Director for National Grid Ventures.
“Viking Link will play a vital role in helping to decarbonise the UK’s power supply on the journey to a net zero carbon energy system. It will enable access to a cleaner greener supply of electricity, which will make energy more secure and affordable for consumers.”
“This major construction project will put Lincolnshire firmly at the heart of our economic recovery,” said Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK’s Minister for Energy and Clean Growth. “Not only will this scheme create local green-collar jobs across the county, but it will also bolster our energy security, reduce bills for consumers, and give our home-grown renewable generators a greater chance to export zero-carbon electricity around the world.”
Currently, completion of the overall project is expected for December 2023, and the €2 billion subsea electricity cable will have the capacity to be able to supply renewable energy to power one and a half million UK homes. This is part of the United Kingdom’s larger efforts to become net-zero by 2050 – a target the country set back in June of 2019, becoming the first major economy to pass such a stringent zero emissions law.
However, by 2030, National Grid expects that 90% of electricity imported via National Grid’s interconnectors will be from zero-carbon sources, further enabling the UK’s zero emissions target.
Currently, the UK receives electricity through three separate interconnectors: BritNed, a connection between the UK and the Netherlands which has been in operation since 2011; IFA, the first link which connects the UK and France and which has been in operation since 1986, and NEMO Link, connecting the UK with Belgium and which has been in operation since 2019.
In addition to Viking Link, two other interconnectors are also already under construction: IFA2, a second link to France which is expected to be operational some time this year; and North Sea Link, which will connect the UK with Norway and which is expected to begin operation in 2021.
Two more UK interconnectors are also currently in development: the 1.4GW Nautilus Interconnector which is planned to connect England and Belgium; and the proposed 1.4GW EuroLink, which would add another connection between the UK and the Netherlands.