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Unveiling the 'World's Longest' Undersea Cable: A Milestone in Powering UK Homes with Unprecedented Energy

Image Credit: National Grid Ventures

The inauguration of the 'world's longest' land and undersea electricity interconnector marks a monumental leap forward in powering homes, which can illuminate up to 2.5 million residences. This groundbreaking £1.7 billion collaboration between National Grid and Danish system operator Energinet, aptly named the Viking Link interconnector, boasts a staggering 1.4GW capacity and spans an impressive 475 miles, seamlessly connecting the Bicker Fen substation in Lincolnshire to the Revsing substation in the heart of southern Jutland.

Managed by the adept team at National Grid Ventures (NGV), this interconnector is not just another power link but a game-changer. Initially, it will flex its muscles at 800MW, but the vision is to surge to an awe-inspiring 1.4GW within the following year. The significance of interconnectors in our clean energy journey cannot be overstated. They serve as the bridges that allow nations to exchange surplus renewable energy with their neighbours, fostering a harmonious balance between energy supply and demand. This, in turn, leads to a noticeable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a key milestone in the fight against climate change.

In its maiden year, the Viking Link is projected to be the saviour of approximately 600,000 tonnes of carbon emissions – a feat equivalent to removing nearly 280,000 cars from our congested roads, according to expert estimates. This triumph reaffirms the importance of collaboration and innovation in our quest for a sustainable future.

Responding to the announcement, Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho said the cable will provide "cleaner, cheaper, more secure energy" to power up to 2.5 million homes. "It will help British families save £500m on their bills over the next decade while cutting emissions," she said.

Meanwhile, Katie Jackson, president of National Grid Ventures, described the "record-breaking new link" as a "fantastic example" of engineering and collaboration.

"As we deploy more wind power to meet our climate and energy security targets, connections to our neighbouring countries will play a vital role in increasing security of supply and reducing prices for consumers," she said."Stretching further across land and sea than any of our existing links, it connects the UK to clean, green Danish energy, improving the security of supply and bringing huge carbon and cost savings for UK consumers."

The ambitious project of constructing Viking Link, National Grid's sixth remarkable interconnector, embarked on its journey in 2019. It was a meticulously planned endeavour that reached a pivotal moment in July when the final section of the state-of-the-art high-voltage subsea cable was gracefully laid.

This exceptional cable is not just a mere conduit; it boasts converter stations at each end, where the power undergoes a profound transformation, ensuring it aligns with the precise frequency required for its onward journey. Principal contractor Siemens Energy was crucial in designing, installing, and commissioning the electrical assets on both ends. Notably, they erected the converter station in the UK, while the Danish national transmission system operator, Energinet, replicated this feat on Danish soil.

Moreover, the renowned Prysmian Group meticulously manufactured the high-voltage direct current offshore cable that forms the backbone of this colossal project. Their custom-made vessel, the Leonardo Da Vinci, precisely laid the cable. To complete this intricate process, it was expertly buried beneath the seabed using specialized trenchers provided by none other than Asso, a distinguished submarine cable installation and repair specialist.

Rebecca Sedler, managing director of National Grid Interconnectors, said that consumers in the UK and Denmark would benefit from the link for many years.

"The hard work and collaboration of our teams, accounting for more than four million labour hours, highlights National Grid's dedication to the UK's clean energy transition," she said.

National Grid's commitment to the UK's clean energy transition has been unwavering, with a history dating back to 1986 when the first interconnector to France was launched. Since then, five additional projects have come to fruition, including a second link with France and further connections with The Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway.

As the journey continues, National Grid anticipates its interconnectors will play a pivotal role in helping the UK avoid a staggering 100 million tonnes of carbon emissions by the decade's end. Even more impressive is that 90 per cent of the energy imparted through these interconnectors will be sourced from zero-carbon energy origins, solidifying the commitment to a sustainable future.


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