Norway’s grid operator seeks to delay interconnector hydro power link to Scotland

The planned power cable linking Norway and Scotland, due to be operational by 2023, should be postponed as it may overburden the Nordic region’s existing infrastructure.

The North Connect, 1.4 gigawatt link is a joint project by three Norwegian power firms and Sweden’s state utility Vattenfall.

It is currently due to be in operation by 2022 or 2023, with an investment decision expected in 2019.

It could supply 25% of Scotland’s peak power demand with energy from Norwegian hydropower dams and wind turbines, and would help Britain as coal-fired power plants close and its oil and gas production declines in the coming years.

But Norway’s grid operator Statnett has now said that adding more export and import capacity will complicate operations in the Nordic grid, requiring IT investments and close integration with Statnett – ‘all of which can be difficult to achieve and have uncertain timelines.’

A spokesman added: “Statnett believes the startup of the connection should take place at a later time than currently proposed.”

Statnett is already building two 1.4 (GW) subsea cables of its own to Germany and Britain to start up in 2020 and 2021 respectively. The three links each have a price tag of up to 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion).

Plugging in North Connect at the same time could make it challenging for the Nordic grid to handle the flows and could lead to a capping of capacity in order to keep the system reliable, said Statnett.

However, North Connect chairman Odd Oeygarden said the project partners disagreed with Statnett’s report and would discuss the case with Norway’s state regulator prior to an expected decision on issuing a licence.

“We haven’t changed our plans,” he said

See also

Scandinavian energy consortium to build new £1.3bn international connector between Scotland and Norway

2 Feb 2018

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