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Energy / Norway to Shetland interconnector still being considered

A PROPOSED interconnector cable between Shetland and Norway still remains under consideration, according to its developer.

The 600MW Maali link has been mooted for a number of years and a prerequisite of the project was the Caithness to Shetland interconnector going ahead.

With that link having received the green light after the Viking Energy wind farm got the go-ahead, the 400km HVDC Maali link could appear to be one step closer.

Norwegian developer Statkraft, which took on responsibility for the Maali project in 2018 when it acquired Element Power, said it still depends on “other factors” around renewables.

Statkraft is also developing the proposed 160MW Energy Isles wind farm in Yell.

“Maali is dependent on Shetland being connected to mainland Scotland which is now going ahead, but it also depends on other factors around developments in renewable generation, strategies for Net Zero and relevant policies,” a company spokesperson said.

“Maali is a long term project and is still being considered by relevant parties in Norway and UK.”

Documents connected to the project highlight that the Maali link could allow Shetland and Scotland to export energy to Norway during period of high winds and transmission constraints.

This would help to “reduce wind energy constraints and curtailments with associated system operation cost savings”.

It is also suggested that the Maali link could provide further energy security for Shetland if the Caithness-Kergord interconnector is out for maintenance or if there was a fault.

The developer also says that Maali would allow “low cost Norwegian hydro power to flow to Shetland and on to Scotland, Great Britain and through further interconnectors to Ireland, France and Belgium, especially when the wind generation on Shetland was below full output”.

This would then “enable the transmission connection from Shetland to Scotland to move from a load factor of up to 50 per cent to a load factor of 100 per cent”, it says.

The Maali link has been proposed to run from an existing substation in the Bergen region to the Kergord converter station, which is being part as part of the interconnector and Viking Energy project.

The team behind the Energy Isles wind farm have previously called for a larger interconnector to be constructed between the Scottish mainland and Shetland as a result of the potential wind power capacity in the isles.

The 600MW transmission link between the Scottish mainland and Shetland, meanwhile, is expected to become operational in 2024.

The diesel-fuelled Lerwick Power Station, meanwhile, is due to close in 2025.