Energy / Cable ducts to be installed in Weisdale as HVDC link project progresses

The ducts were towed by a specialist vessel into Weisdale Voe in September last year. Photo: SSEN Transmission

THE NEXT phase of construction work in the Shetland transmission link project is set to begin next week, which will involve installing new ducts where the future HVDC subsea cable will make landfall at Weisdale Voe.

The HVDC cable, between Shetland and Noss Head in Caithness, will connect the isles to the national grid for the first time and allow the Viking Energy wind farm to export energy.

Starting on Monday (6 February), SSEN Transmission’s contractor NKT and local subcontractor Tulloch Developments will install two new cable ducts from the seabed at Weisdale Voe onto the foreshore. 

The ducts will be around 30 metres in length and will allow for the HVDC cable to be pulled through to be jointed to the land cables which are already installed inland near the Weisdale Voe shore.

From there the cables will connect to the converter station at Upper Kergord. 

The ducts will be buried and covered with layers of gravel and rock to provide protection.


Minor preparatory works are underway to allow the safe delivery of plant and machinery to site as well as to facilitate the arrival of the ducts, which were towed to Weisdale Voe by a specialist vessel in September last year and stored ahead of installation.

SSEN Transmission said extensive environmental surveys were carried out prior to construction to establish what wildlife may be present in the area such as otters and nesting birds, with plans put in place to mitigate against any impact.

An environmental specialist will be on site during any construction activity to ensure all wildlife is protected and any impact is carefully managed.

The next phase of subsea cable installation is expected to begin in mid-March and will involve the specialist cable laying vessel NKT Victoria installing 57km of subsea cable from Weisdale Voe heading south into the North Sea.

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The first 100km of cable was successfully installed in October last year, with NKT Victoria laying the cable from Noss Head in Caithness heading northwards. 

The third and final campaign will take place later this year, which will complete the link between the first and second campaigns in the North Sea to join all three campaigns together and complete the full 260km subsea HVDC link.

SSEN Transmission lead project manager Fionán Doonan said: “We’ve taken care to plan this project to minimise any impact to the environment as much as possible, with robust mitigation measures in place both onshore and within the bay to limit our impact on wildlife, and we’ll also have an environmental specialist monitoring our construction activity at all times.

“We’ve been working with the local community to advise them of the project in advance, and we’ll continue to keep them informed as the project progresses.”


Monday will also see the first convoy of Viking Energy wind turbine parts travel up the A970 from Lerwick to the construction site in the Central Mainland.

These convoys could last through to July as work gets underway on erecting the wind farm’s 103 turbines.

Meanwhile Viking Energy Wind Farm has made a £2,000 donation to Shetland Heart Screening, which facilitates free cardiac checks for young people.

The donation will help contribute towards the group’s next heart screening event in June.

Shetland Heart Screening committee member Andrea Laurenson said: “A huge thank you to SSE Renewables and Viking Energy Wind Farm for their extremely kind donation of £2,000 which will go towards our next Heart Screening Event.

“We are so very grateful for every single penny, which will allow us to continue to offer free heart screenings to Shetlanders between the age of 14 and 35.”

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