The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide GBP 500 million (approx. $720 million) to support a major reinforcement of the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland to improve connections between wind, wave and tidal renewable energy schemes and the national power network.
The new power link will help secure the supply of electricity in the Highlands and beyond and once operational the new transmission link will supply equivalent electricity to meet the needs of around 2 million Scottish residents.
The new investment represents the largest investment in the electricity network in the north of Scotland for 60 years and includes a new 1200 megawatt subsea cable between Spittal in Caithness and Blackhillock in Moray. The laying of the subsea cable and associated onshore infrastructure works are expected to support 600 jobs during the construction phase and boost SSE plc’s in-house apprentice, trainee engineer and graduate programmes.
The GBP 500 million year long-term European Investment Bank loan will support nearly GBP 1.2 billion of overall investment in the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SSE plc. The first part of the loan totalling GBP 300 million was signed this week and the remainder is expected to be signed next year as the project progresses.
“This project represents the largest investment in electricity network in the north of Scotland since the hydro development era of the 1950s and we are proud to be an integral part of it; delivering value for money while reinforcing the network, allowing for the connection of new generation and providing a more resilient power supply to those who live and work in the area.” said David Gardner, Director of Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission.
“Investment in energy infrastructure across the UK is essential to harness the full potential of new and future renewable energy schemes. The European Investment Bank is pleased to provide GBP 500 million to support essential investment by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission that will ensure more efficient transmission of green energy, enable increased use of renewable power in Scotland and secure energy supply to the Highlands and Scotland’s cities. Our strong partnership with SSE over many years demonstrates our firm commitment to support ambitious energy investment that creates jobs and benefits local companies.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President.
SSE is working closely with local businesses to create a sustainable local supply chain, advertise opportunities for local suppliers and provide opportunities for local firms to benefit from investment in Scotland’s power infrastructure. In December 2014, SSE awarded its largest-ever Living Wage contract, worth £460m, as part of the Caithness-Moray transmission link.