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Plans for cable connection to Norway approved

Planning consent for NorthConnect cable connection approved by Aberdeenshire Council

At a meeting of the full Aberdeenshire Council on Thursday 17th January 2019, the committee approved the major planning application for the HVDC cables which will connect the approved converter station at Stirling Hill, Boddam to an offshore transmission cable across the North Sea to a similar converter station at Simadalen in Norway.  The offshore cable licence application is currently being considered by Marine Scotland and a licence is expected to be granted in February.

The application was supported by an Environmental Impact Assessment covering all aspects related to the construction and operation of the cable. This included the assessment of a wide range of topics including ecology, water quality, noise and traffic.  Suitable mitigation measures were then identified to minimise environmental impacts.  There were no objections from members of the public to the planning application and the minimal environmental impacts and lack of objections allowed Council officials to make a recommendation for approval to Members.

The 665km long 1.4GW power cable connection will enable power to be transmitted both ways between Great Britain and Scandinavia. The link promises to benefit the Scottish consumer by helping keep prices down as well as enabling renewable electricity generation in Scotland and Norway to be maximised.  It will help support the flexible, smart energy system the Scottish Government is striving for, contributing towards security of supply and facilitating even greater deployment of cost-effective low-carbon renewable energy solutions.

Richard Blanchfield, the NorthConnect Permitting manager in the UK, said: “I am delighted that the NorthConnect Project has passed another significant milestone on its journey to becoming a reality. The cables will be able to transport energy in both directions, monitor and respond instantaneously to meet the demands of either energy market and, crucially, be able to be called upon in the event of a ‘black start’ situation, ensuring our lights stay on.”

“NorthConnect is looking towards operation in 2023/24 and now the only piece of the UK planning and licencing jigsaw left is the Marine Licence, which we expect a decision on in the coming months.”

The HVDC cable route will feed into the converter station on a site at Fourfields, west of Stirling Hill quarry.  The building, which was consented in 2015, will house the components required to convert electricity from direct to alternating current and vice versa to allow connection on to the National Grid.