Wind turbines in waters off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland.
K Neville | iStock | Getty Images
Plans have been announced for a multi-billion pound “underwater energy highway” to send electricity produced in Scotland to the north east of England.
The so-called Eastern Link project is to focus on the development of a pair of high voltage direct current cables with a total output of up to 4 gigawatts (GW).
“This project will help carry enough renewable electricity for around 4.5 million households across the UK and will become part of the backbone of the UK energy system,” said Nicola Shaw, executive director of National Grid in the UK, in a published Monday Explanation .
The scope of the proposed project is considerable. The electricity is expected to travel up to 440 kilometers (just over 273 miles) from eastern Scotland – referred to in the announcement as the “hub for offshore renewable energy” – to England. The survey work for the project has started. Construction is scheduled to start in 2024.
According to the Scottish Government, Scotland currently has 1 GW of operational offshore wind capacity.
At the end of October, the authorities there announced that offshore capacity should reach 11 GW by 2030. This amount would be enough to supply more than 8 million households with electricity. According to the latest figures, Scotland has an estimated 5.46 million inhabitants.
Monday’s announcement coincided with news that Scottish Power, SSE, National Grid and the NatWest Group would be the first sponsor of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
Originally planned for this year, the conference was postponed to November 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement posted on the UK government website, Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland, stressed the importance of the event.
“In a year the eyes of the world will be fixed on Scotland as we bring the world’s leading companies here with a laser-focused goal of getting them to move further and faster in achieving net zero carbon emissions,” he said .