A state-of-the-art facility to import and export renewable energy from the continent began operations today.
National Grid’s new Viking Link power interconnection line – the world’s longest onshore and undersea interconnector – was commissioned this afternoon to transport power between the Bicker Fen and Danish substations.
The link has a capacity of 1.4 GW and spans 775 miles under land and sea, linking a substation outside Donington to the Rebsing substation in southern Jutland.
The £1.7bn project is a joint venture between National Grid and Danish system operator Energynet and will have the capacity to transport enough electricity for up to 2.5 million UK homes, with the company saying it will deliver a total of 5. It is expected to provide more than 100 million pounds of electricity. Cheap imported electricity from Denmark could save UK consumers over the next decade.
For Rebecca Sedler, managing director of National Grid Interconnectors, the flip of the switch was a proud moment.
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He said: “VikingLink is a win for both Denmark and the UK, and consumers in both countries will benefit from this infrastructure for many years to come. Thanks to the hard work and collaboration of our teams, this highlights National Grid’s commitment to the UK’s clean energy transition.”
Construction of National Grid’s sixth interconnector, VikingLink, began in 2019, with no fewer than four interconnectors built. It took a million hours of work to get to this point. A heavy transformer was brought to the substation with a police escort.
National Grid’s interconnector business is operated by National Grid Ventures (NGV) and operates outside of National Grid’s core regulated businesses in the UK and US. NGV develops, operates and invests in energy projects, technologies and partnerships to accelerate the development of a clean energy future.
Viking Link will bring significant benefits to UK consumers, including cheaper, lower carbon electricity and increased energy security, as the UK will be able to request additional power from Denmark if needed.
Initially, Viking Link will operate with a capacity of 800MW, which will then increase to 1.4GW over time. National Grid and Energinet plan to work together to bring the assets to full capacity over the next year.
Viking Link is expected to reduce carbon emissions by around 600,000 tonnes in its first year of operation, the equivalent of taking around 280,000 cars off the road. *
said Katie Jackson, president of National Grid Ventures. “This record-breaking new link is a great example of engineering and collaboration with our partner Energinet. Increasing the deployment of wind power to meet climate change and energy security goals is a powerful example of collaboration with neighboring countries. The connection will play a key role in increasing security of supply and lowering prices for consumers. It will extend across land and sea more than any existing link and will ensure a clean and environmentally friendly relationship with the UK. We will connect friendly Danish energy, improve security of supply and deliver significant carbon and cost savings for UK consumers.”
Viking Link has conversion stations at each end of the cable, converting the power to the correct frequency before being transmitted to each country’s transmission system.
Lead contractor Siemens Energy built the substation in the UK and Energynet built the substation in Denmark. Siemens Energy designed, installed and commissioned the electrical assets on both sides.
The HVDC offshore cable was manufactured and installed by Prysmian Group. The cable was laid on the ocean floor using a custom-built ship Leonardo da Vinci and then buried using an Asso trencher.
The HVDC onshore cable manufactured by Prysmian Group was installed by Balfour Beatty, the offshore section was manufactured and installed by Prysmian Group in the UK, and the Danish onshore section was manufactured by NKT and installed by Monck.
The UK land cable consisted of 118 sections spanning 67 km between Bicker Fen and Sutton-on-Sea where the undersea cable began. It was connected to the UK national electricity grid by the National Grid transmission network at the existing Bickerfen substation.
Interconnection devices enable rapid and flexible sharing of energy between countries and are the perfect tool for managing the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources.
National Grid opened the UK’s first international interconnector (IFA) in France in 1986. Since then he has built five interconnectors, including his second link with France (IFA2) and further connections with the Netherlands (BritNed), Belgium (Nemo Link) and Norway (North Sea Link) .
National Grid says its interconnectors will help the UK avoid around 100 million tonnes of carbon emissions between 2020 and 2030, and that by 2030 it will reduce the amount of energy imported through its interconnectors. It expects 90% of its energy to come from zero-carbon sources.
Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said:: “Today’s great news is that the new Vikinglink interconnector will begin transporting energy between Denmark and the UK under the North Sea.
“The 475-mile cable is the world’s longest onshore and undersea power cable, providing clean, cheap and secure energy to power up to 2.5 million homes in the UK.
“This will help UK households save £500m on their bills over the next 10 years, while reducing emissions.”
Earlier this year (2023) National Grid announced joint plans with TenneT to build a new 1.8GW interconnector called LionLink between the UK and the Netherlands. This link will not only connect the two countries, but will also lead to offshore wind power generation. LionLink will be his second link between the two countries and is expected to become operational in the early 2030s. His second new link, called Nautilus, is also in the planning stages and may connect with Belgium.
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