The Caithness-Moray Link, Scotland

Investment in the renewable energy sector in Scotland has increased significantly over the past ten years. To accommodate this newly constructed generation capacity and ensure the future security of energy supply across the UK, a major reinforcement of the transmission network serving the north of Scotland is required. The Caithness-Moray project represents a £1.1bn capital investment by SSEN, centred on a submarine cable capable of carrying up to 1,200MW beneath the Moray Firth. With associated reinforcement of the existing onshore transmission network, the project will represent the largest investment in the north of Scotland’s electricity network since the hydro development era of the 1950s.

NKT plays a key role in the project by designing, manufacturing and installing the 320 kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine and underground cable system covering a total transmission length of 160 kilometers. The link connects the electricity grid on either side of the Moray Firth using world-leading and well established HVDC cable technology from NKT with a minimal visual impact.

The installation of the 113 km long submarine cable system was the maiden project of our purpose-built cable laying vessel NKT Victoria. It can hold 9,000 tons of power cable and offers state-of-the-art cable-laying capability. In-house marine engineering and cable technology engineering facilitated an efficient installation operation with the cable integrity in focus and thereby reducing risks. The vessel´s dynamic positioning (DP3) and remotely operated vehicles featuring cameras and sonar enabled high-precision installation of the cable in the trench. The successful first installation was a true milestone both for the project and for us.

The link has the capacity to carry up to 1,200 MW (megawatt) of electricity – equivalent to the electricity needs of about two million people

160 km installed

320 kV extruded HVDC cable system, including 2x113 km of submarine and 2x20 + 2x28 km of underground XLPE cables

Started in 2014 and ongoing

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN)

Moray Firth, Scotland



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