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Energy / Connection to national grid ‘becoming a reality’ as cable work begins

Shetland HVDC cable works getting underway in Kergord. Photo: SSE

WORK to install 8km of underground cable for the Shetland interconnector project is now underway in Kergord.

SSE Transmission said it is a “major milestone” for the 600MW Shetland HVDC project.

The onshore cable will run from the converter station at Upper Kergord to the subsea cable landfall point at Weisdale Voe.

Once installed it will connect with the 260km subsea HVDC cable which will enable Shetland’s connection to the national grid for the first time and allow large wind farms – such as Viking Energy – to export power.

Meanwhile, cable is also being laid at what will be the other end of the cable, in Caithness.

The cable installation works in Shetland are being carried out by SSEN Transmission’s principal contractor, cable specialists NKT and their sub-contractor, local firm Tulloch Developments.

Ahead of works commencing the team carried out pre-condition surveys to record the condition of roads, structures, fences walls, and other property in proximity of the works.

In recent weeks people may have seen some of the team marking out the areas of works with markers and fences.

The cable installation works will comprise of four main elements:

Installation of ducting along the Kergord converter station site boundary

Installation of ducting along the A971

Installation of ducting from the A971 to the landfall site at Weisdale Voe

The creation of temporary compound and welfare facilities at Weisdale Voe and a temporary haul road from the Cott Road

The installation of cable will involve the removal of the topsoil, the excavation of a trench and the laying of ducting along the trench.

The cable will then be installed in sections and pulled through the ducting before being connected into the terminals at Kergord.

To ensure the works can be carried out safely along the A971, traffic management measures will be placed requiring the closure of the northbound lane in 300m sections at a time, with traffic controlled using temporary traffic lights.

SSE said the closure of sections of the carriageway are essential to ensure the safety of the construction team and passing vehicles.

Work on each section will take up to six weeks to complete, with works commencing in July 2021 and expected to finish in the spring of next year.

Lead project manager Chris Finnigan said: “It is a significant milestone for the project, it has taken a lot of hard work and collaboration with our colleagues at NKT and Tulloch Developments to get to this stage.

“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who lives along the route for their co-operation and understanding whilst we carry out the works.

“We will be using specialist silenced equipment in sensitive areas to mitigate the impact of the works as much as possible and we look forward to delivering the 8km of cabling safely and with the least amount of disruption possible.”

Anyone with questions about the cable installation works is asked to contact community liaison manager Sharon Powell at Sharon.powell@sse.com.