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Energy / Strict Covid-19 measures will be in place, SSEN insists

THE COMPANY behind the £630 million subsea cable plus associated infrastructure has moved to assure the Shetland community that government guidance in relation to Covid-19 regulations will be closely followed during construction.

SSEN Transmission said all works for the 270km interconnector would be “extensively risk assessed” after being contacted by Shetland News following comments from many islanders that deploying a workforce from south would increase the risk of bringing the Covid-19 virus to Shetland.

Full construction work on the converter station at Upper Kergord is planned for early next year with enabling work due to get under way by the end of this month.

The proposed converter station at Upper Kergord. Image: Mott MacDonald/Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks/Shetland Islands Council

Earlier this week SSEN announced the names of three contractors for key elements of the project, while saying that during the peak of the construction work – expected to be in the summer of 2022 – as many as 250 people would be employed on the project.

A company spokesman said: “All works will be extensively risk assessed and measures put in place by our contractors to ensure that all work is in line with the latest government and industry guidance in relation to Covid-19.

“This includes travel to and from the construction site, welfare provision, social distancing procedures and additional hygiene measures and use of PPE.

“The wellbeing of our employees, contractors and local communities is our number one priority.”

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson added: “The wind farm developers will have to follow all the relevant government and Public Health Scotland guidance in the same way as any other business to protect both their employees and the wider community.

“The workers will have to follow the current guidance and rules in the same way as the rest of the community does.

“NHS Shetland can offer advice to businesses and organisations on public health issues if appropriate. As we move forward and try to find a ‘new normal’ we will continue to be here for our community and any visiting workers if they need clinical care.”

The SSEN Transmission spokesman said the company had not made up its mind on accommodation provision for the visiting workforce.

“We are still considering our options, including both local accommodation and Sella Ness accommodation camp, with no decision taken yet,” he said.

“In the meantime, contractors will be responsible for coordinating their own accommodation requirements to support early construction and enabling works.”

SSEN also released further details on the value of the various elements of the £630 million subsea cable project.

The £103 million contract to carry out all civil engineering work including construction of all building has gone to BAM Nuttall – the contract of delivering and commissioning the high voltage direct current (HVDC), won by Hitachi ABB – (contract value removed – Shetland News), while Siemens BAM will build the substation at Kergord for £19 million.

The £222 million (235m euros) contract to manufacture and install the subsea cable has gone to the Danish company NKT as was announced last month.