SSE moves on Moray Firth power line

The transmission arm of UK utility SSE has submitted an application to the regulator Ofgem for a subsea power line across the Moray Firth, which will facilitate the transfer of renewable electricity from northern Scotland to the south.

The application follows on the recent completion of a £78m ($120m) upgrade to the overhead lines running between Dounreay, along the north coast of Caithness, and Beauly, more than 100km to the south in Inverness-shire.

The 1.2GW Moray Firth link will run between Spittal in Caithness – in Scotland’s extreme northwestern tip – and Keith, in the council area of Moray.

The line will unlock the significant onshore wind pipeline planned for windy Caithness, as well as future wave and tidal projects in the Pentland Firth.

Construction will start in late 2013 and is expected to take five years, beginning with the substation in Moray, which has already been approved.

“At a time when there is a lot of discussion about the need for investment in different types of infrastructure to boost the economy, we are progressing with our capital expenditure programme which will connect significant amounts of renewable energy to the grid,” says SSE director of transmission David Gardner.

Scotland’s grid is seen as one of the major challenges as the country aggressively expands its renewables capacity, with an eye toward selling clean power to England.