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Marine / Subsea transmission link will be ‘suitably protected’, SSE says

It comes after a telecoms cable south of Shetland suffered a break last week

Work on the 600MW interconnector at the Scottish mainland side. Photo: SSEN Transmission

THE DEVELOPER behind the subsea electricity link which will connect Shetland to the national grid has offered reassurances over its reliability following the telecoms cable disruption last week.

SSEN said the HVDC link will be regularly surveyed to monitor its condition once it is live.

It added that where possible the cable will be buried into the sea bed.

On Thursday much of Shetland lost internet and mobile phone connectivity after fault on the SHEFA-2 subsea telecoms cable which runs between the isles and Orkney.

A fishing vessel and its gear is believed to have been at fault.

SSEN confirmed that ongoing work on Shetland HVDC project had no part to play in the incident.

On 11 October the developer issued a notice to mariners stating that cable had been laid on the seabed on part of the HVDC route, from Caithness to an area east of Orkney close to where the SHEFA-2 telecoms cable lies.

While some of the cable is exposed in the period between cable lay and burial, guard fishing vessels are being deployed on the route to protect the transmission link.

Once installed the subsea HVDC link will run between Weisdale Voe in Shetland and Caithness on the Scottish mainland, and it is set to go live in 2024 to allow the Viking Energy wind farm to export power.

The cable will also allow energy to be imported into Shetland.

After it goes live Lerwick Power Station will move into standby mode, and a battery system has been proposed to enable Shetland’s lights to stay on if the station needs time to power up in the event of cable failure or maintenance.

A SSEN spokesperson told Shetland News that the high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology “provides the most efficient and reliable means of transmitting large amounts of power over long distances via subsea”.

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“The Shetland HVDC link, which is scheduled to be fully operational by April 2024, has been designed to include protection that has been identified following a detailed cable burial risk assessment to ensure that the cable is protected against any potential damage,  where possible the HVDC cable will be buried into the sea bed and have rock protection installed where trenching cannot be achieved,” they added.

“Once operational the cable will be regularly surveyed to monitor its condition and protection and to identify areas for proactive intervention and maintenance to ensure the cable is suitably protected throughout its service.”

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