Subsea superhighway moves closer to construction

  • Eastern Green Link 1, a joint venture between National Grid Electricity Transmission and SP Energy Networks, has entered into the final stage of Ofgem’s approval process
  • The £2.5bn, inclusive of indirect costs, subsea cable will be 196km in length and able to transport power to around two million homes across the UK
  • Crucial step forward for a project vital to supporting UK economic growth and net zero ambitions

The £2.5bn, inclusive of indirect costs, east coast subsea highway, the Eastern Green Link 1 (EGL1), has moved one step closer to construction with energy regulator Ofgem confirming the project is the first to proceed under its new fast track process.

The project, a joint venture between partners National Grid Electricity Transmission and SP Transmission, part of SP Energy Networks, will form a vital part of the UK’s electricity infrastructure needed to reach net zero.

The 196km link will transport power via a high voltage subsea electricity cable from Torness in East Lothian, Scotland, to Hawthorn Pit in County Durham, England, enabling the transmission of renewable green energy to power around two million homes across the UK.

Matthew Barton, EGL1 Project Director, said the link will unlock economic growth across the UK.  He said: “Investing in transmission infrastructure is critical to the UK achieving its net zero ambitions, but it goes far beyond this. Eastern Green Link 1 will be transformative, boosting economic growth across the UK, allowing the rapid growth of renewables and helping secure greater UK energy independence.

“Today’s announcement from Ofgem clearly demonstrates support for such a vital project and takes us another important step forward to delivering this green super-highway for the UK.”

EGL1 is the first of a number of subsea cables that will create a multi-billion-pound underwater electricity super-highway transporting clean, renewable energy across the country. Another of these projects, Eastern Green Link 2, a joint venture between National Grid Transmission and SSEN Transmission, has also progressed today.  

Zac Richardson, Offshore Delivery Director for National Grid said: “The Eastern Green Links form part of The Great Grid Upgrade, our critical infrastructure investment plan which will upgrade and reinforce the electricity network to support the significant growth in renewable generation. “We welcome Ofgem’s provisional decision as we believe the links will deliver the best value for money for consumers, while helping the UK decarbonise and achieve its net zero ambition.”

Ofgem’s announcement highlights its intention to give the final go-ahead for the first two Eastern Green Link projects following a formal consultation process, which has now begun. Ofgem’s final decision on the two links is expected later this year.

Already around £1.8bn of contracts have been awarded to help deliver Eastern Green Link 1, expected to bring a major economic boost to the UK during construction with significant works and components to be provided by UK based industries. This includes Staffordshire based GE Vernova’s Grid solutions business, which will be providing the HVDC converter station equipment.

National Grid’s research has also found that there will be an estimated 400,000 job opportunities for a net zero energy workforce by 2050, including around 150,000 jobs anticipated in Scotland and the North of England, some of which are expected to support the delivering of the Eastern Green Links.

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