Hitachi ABB Power Grids wins ‘major’ contract to link Shetland to UK grid

HITACHI ABB Power Grids has won a ‘major’ order from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Transmission to enable Europe’s first multi-terminal high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) interconnection.

The project will connect Shetland to the UK transmission system for the first time, in a move which Hitachi said will also enhance the security of the power supply and help transmit wind power generated on the island – contributing to the UK’s decarbonisation target of bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

As part of the works, Hitachi ABB Power Grids will deliver and commission an ‘innovative’ HVDC system which will provide the flexibility to transfer power in multiple directions with minimal power losses. The firm said that the system will convert harnessed wind power, which will then be transmitted via underground and subsea cables to an HVDC switching station at Caithness.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids said that the connection will play a ‘key role’ in the development of Shetland’s renewable energy potential by connecting it to what will be the UK’s largest onshore wind farm. The firm said that the completion date for the work is scheduled for 2024.

Niklas Persson, managing director of the grid integration business at Hitachi ABB Power Grids, said, “This innovative HVDC solution will enable SSEN Transmission to efficiently connect and transport renewable energy and deliver clean power to consumers while enhancing grid reliability. This project is another example of our new business model focused on our core technology, and reinforces our commitment to a sustainable energy future as the partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”

Sandy Mactaggart, SSEN Transmission’s director of offshore delivery, “We are delighted to be working again with Hitachi ABB Power Grids for the Shetland HVDC link, building on the experience and strong track record we have established following the construction and operation of the Caithness Moray link. The 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.”