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Wed September 23 2020

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Siemens and BAM land Shetland transmission link

4 Aug A joint venture led by Siemens and BAM has won the contract to connect Shetland to the GB transmission system.

SSEN Transmission has appointed Siemens BAM to construct the Shetland HVDC link and all associated infrastructure. 

BAM Nuttall chief executive Adrian Savory said: “BAM is delighted to continue our collaborative relationship with SSEN Transmission on this project in Shetland, which has such strategic national importance. We look forward working closely with SSEN Transmission, ABB, NKT, and Siemens. And we’re excited to be providing infrastructure that contributes to Scottish net-zero targets and boosts the local economies in both Shetland and Caithness.”

NKT will be responsible for the manufacture and installation of the subsea cable, with BAM Nuttall delivering all civil engineering works, including the construction of all buildings. Hitachi ABB Power Grids will deliver and commissioning the HVDC system.

The award follows the recent decision by the energy regulator, Ofgem, to grant final approval for the transmission link, with everything now in place for the start of main construction in late August. Ofgem had been considering the link since last year.

The link is required to facilitate the connection of renewable electricity developments on Shetland and is also intended to support Shetland’s future security of supply.

The project involves construction of an AC substation at Kergord on Shetland. The power will then be converted from alternating current to direct current at a HVDC Converter Station, also at Kergord, before being transported around 270km via underground and subsea cable (257km) to an HVDC switching station at Noss Head, Caithness, in the north of Scotland. 

Mark Tiernan, Siemens director high voltage substations, said: “Siemens/BAM are delighted to be delivering the Kergord 132kV GIS substation through the well-established Siemens/BAM JV which has worked extensively across the network with the SSEN Transmission team  The project will use Siemens Energy’s world leading and innovative environmentally friendly gas insulated switchgear, which enables climate-neutral, reliable power transmission, free of harmful greenhouse gases, supporting SSEN Transmission’s commitment to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions by one third by 2026.”

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The power will then be transported via the Caithness Moray HVDC link before being converted back to alternating current for onward transmission to meet the electricity demand requirements of homes and business across the north of Scotland and beyond.

All four contractors played a major role in the construction of the Caithness Moray HVDC link, which has been operational since January 2019.

Enabling works are due to begin at Kergord and Noss Head towards the end of August, with full construction of the AC substation, and HVDC convertor and switching stations expected to start in early 2021. The subsea cable installation will take place in 2022 and 2023 following its manufacture.

Sandy Mactaggart, SSEN Transmission’s director of offshore delivery, said: “We are delighted to have finalised contracts with our supply chain partners for the Shetland HVDC link, building on the experience and strong track record we have collectively established over recent years following the construction and operation of the Caithness Moray link.

“All four contractors are leading specialists in their field, building the high quality and reliable infrastructure required to meet Shetland’s future energy needs and contribute to UK and Scottish net zero targets.

“The Shetland HVDC link will deliver substantial socio-economic and environmental benefits to Shetland’s, Scotland’s and the UK’s economy, supporting hundreds of skilled jobs in the process as part of the green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”

All construction works are scheduled to be complete in December 2023, with energisation and full commissioning due to be complete in July 2024.  At its peak, in the summer of 2022, the project is expected to employ almost 250 people.

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