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Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Marine / ‘Symbolic milestone’ as cable ship arrives in Weisdale Voe for transmission link project

NKT Victoria in Weisdale Voe. All photos: SSEN Transmission

A SIGNIFICANT milestone is said to have been reached in connecting Shetland to the national electricity grid for the first time after the next section of subsea cable laying got underway in Weisdale Voe.

The specialist cable laying vessel NKT Victoria has been a towering presence in the voe over the last few days.

The team are readying themselves to start laying 60km of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) subsea cable system, bringing Shetland one step closer to being connected to the national grid for the first time. 

Once built, SSEN Transmission’s Shetland HVDC link will allow the Viking Energy wind farm to export power and enable the Lerwick Power Station to go into standby mode.

The NKT Victoria lowered the end of the cable, which was then successfully pulled onto shore via previously installed ducts by a winch located on the shoreline at Weisdale.

The process involves the HVDC cable being floated into position from NKT Victoria to where it makes landfall, before the floats are removed and the cable installed on the seabed.

Once secured in the transition joint bay, the offshore cable will be jointed to the previously installed HVDC land cable which will then connect to SSEN Transmission’s Kergord HVDC converter station and AC substation.

The NKT Victoria will now make her way south out to sea along the designated cable route, slowly lowering around 60km of subsea HVDC cable system onto the seabed.

Rock placement will take place at some sections to ensure the cables are protected where trenching is not possible.

SSEN Transmission’s £660 million Shetland HVDC link project involves installing a 260km subsea cable system between Noss Head in Caithness and Weisdale Voe.

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The project has been split into three campaigns.

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

The third and final campaign will take place later this year, which is 100km long and 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.

The HVDC cable being pulled into shore at Weisdale Voe.

SSEN Transmission’s Shetland HVDC link project director John Scott said: “The arrival of NKT Victoria in Shetland signals yet another major and hugely symbolic milestone in the Shetland HVDC Link project, and it’s been great to see the cable make landfall in Shetland as the vessel begins her voyage into the North Sea and kick off the next cable campaign.

“The installation of the subsea cable system is complex and requires significant planning to reach this point, and working with subsea cable experts NKT has enabled this process to take place reliably, safely and to the highest standard.”

The project is on track to be completed by summer 2024.

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