SHARE
COPY LINK

ENERGY

Norway and UK complete world’s longest underwater sea cable

Norway and Britain have finished laying the world's longest subsea power cable, which will send wind and hydro energy between the two countries, Norwegian power grid operator Statnett announced Tuesday.

Norway and UK complete world's longest underwater sea cable
Offshore wind farm. Photo by Andrey Sharpilo on Unsplash

The 720-kilometre-long (447-mile-long) North Sea Link — all but four kilometres of it underwater — links Suldal in the southwest of the Scandinavian country to Blyth, near Newcastle.

The cable will deliver British wind energy to Norway, which will send hydropower to the UK in return, with testing set to start October 1.

The project is estimated to have cost between 1.5 billion and 2.0 billion euros ($1.8-$2.4 billion).

“When the wind blows in England and wind power production is high, we in Norway will be able to buy cheap electricity from the British and leave the water in our dam reservoirs,” said Statnett’s project manager Thor Anders Nummedal.

“When there is little wind and a greater need for electricity in England, they will in turn be able to buy hydroelectric power from us,” he said in a statement.

The power capacity of the new cable is 1,400 megawatts.

The coupling of the two sections, built simultaneously from the British and Norwegian sides, took place late Monday evening.

READ MORE: Norway sees oil in its future despite IEA’s warnings 

The construction had its share of technical challenges, including the need to build a special barge to run the cable under a Norwegian lake and the drilling of a 2.3-kilometre tunnel.

“This is an important cooperation between the UK and Norway to make the most of our joint renewable energy resources,” said Nigel Williams, project director at UK operator National Grid, which, like Statnett, owns 50 percent of the project.

The cable takes the crown of the longest underwater cable from Nordlink, which was inaugurated only last month and connects Norway and Germany, measuring 623 kilometres, with 516 kilometres of it underwater.

Already connected to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland, the UK is planning further direct connections with continental countries, including a 765-kilometre link with Denmark with a 621-kilometre stretch underwater.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ENERGY

Could the Norwegian government introduce a cap on energy prices? 

Due to soaring prices, the Norwegian government is mulling over several solutions, including a potential price cap for electricity and limiting energy exports abroad. 

Could the Norwegian government introduce a cap on energy prices? 

High energy exports in the last 12 months, low filling levels in Norwegian reservoirs and an uncertain energy situation around Europe have led to soaring electricity prices in southern Norway. 

Last year the government introduced a scheme whereby it covers 80 percent of consumers’ energy bills where the price rose above 70 øre/kWh. The portion of the bill under 70 øre is paid in full by households. The portion the government covers will increase to 90 percent in October. 

Critics have argued that the current scheme still leaves households struggling with their bills. As a result, Norway’s government has said it is mulling its options to curb energy bills.

Norway primarily depends on hydroelectric dams to help it meet its energy needs. Still, reservoirs in southern Norway have been at the lowest level for ten years, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

Low reservoir filling over the past year has conceded with record exports with higher prices on the continent, making sending power abroad an enticing proposition.

Recently, exports have fallen significantly, and the government is considering introducing a limit to reduce the possibility of energy rationing being introduced this winter. 

“Restrictions on the export of electricity to Europe may be one of the measures that is needed,” Elisabeth Sæther, state secretary at the Ministry of Oil and Energy, told NRK. 

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre ruled out completely shutting off exports to the continent. 

“It is a dangerous thought and will not serve us well. It could give us more expensive power and lack of power in given situations. We will hardly be able to import power when we need it without contributing to other countries when they need it. There is a reciprocity in this,” he told the newspaper Aftenposten earlier in the week. 

Sæther also told NRK that the government was weighing up putting a maximum price on energy but warned that it could have unforeseen consequences. 

“We are afraid that a maximum price means that more water is drawn into the reservoirs, which we need for the winter. It is a serious situation. We must prevent ourselves from getting into a situation where we lack enough power this winter,” she told the broadcaster. 

At the end of May, the state-owned Statnett announced that the supply situation in Norway might be under strain – in some scenarios – all the way up to and through the winter, especially if Southern Norway experiences drier than usual weather in the second part of the year. 

SHOW COMMENTS