Scotland business

Ofgem approves Scotland-Norway power cable

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UK regulators have given the green light to plans for a 400-mile subsea power cable linking Scotland and Norway.

Ofgem announced it had granted an electricity interconnector licence to Scandinavian consortium NorthConnect.

The developers plan to build a £1.3bn power cable between Boddam in Aberdeenshire and Eidfjord in Norway.

The project aims to link hydro power from Norway with wind energy from Scotland.

It is scheduled to start operating from 2022.

NorthConnect have said that the cable will have a capacity of 1.4GW - about 25% of Scottish peak demand.

Having been awarded the licence, NorthConnect still has to undertake further regulatory steps.

It can apply for Ofgem's "cap and floor" regime, which regulates how much money a developer can earn once in operation.

Alternatively, the consortium can ask for an exemption from certain European rules that apply to interconnectors.

Image copyright NorthConnect
Image caption The plans involve running an underwater cable between Scotland and Norway

Last year, Aberdeenshire Council approved an application by the consortium to build an electricity converter station and underground cables at Boddam.

The converter station and onshore cables are required to connect the interconnector cable to the National Grid.

Interconnectors are transmission cables that allow electricity to flow from one country to another.

Ofgem has said they can lower consumer bills by accessing cheaper power and boosting UK energy supplies.

'Supergrid'

Responding to the Ofgem announcement, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "If the UK and the rest of Europe are to move to a 100% renewable future then greater use of interconnectors is a sensible way forward.

"Sharing different renewable resources between nations would help drive down climate emissions much faster than relying on domestic action alone.

"However, it shouldn't be an excuse for any country to halt the development of their own renewable capacity.

"A European-wide 'supergrid' would also bring the double benefits of security of supply and a reduced need to build lots of expensive new nuclear or fossil fuel power stations."

NorthConnect is jointly owned by Swedish utility Vattenfall and Norwegian companies E-CO Energi, Agder Energi and Lyse.

In 2013, Perth-based energy giant SSE withdrew from the project, saying it wanted to focus instead on its markets in Britain and Ireland.

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