Scotland's electricity transmission network is getting £500m to improve the connections between its wind, wave and tidal renewable energy schemes and the national grid.
The European Investment Bank is providing the funding which will secure the electricity supply to the Highlands and surrounding areas in order to meet the needs of around two million Scottish residents.
A 1200 megawatt subsea cable between Spittal in Caithness and Blackhillock in Moray will be built using the money as part of a £1.2bn package of overall investment in the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland by energy company SSE.
The new project represents the largest investment in the electricity network in the north of Scotland for 60 years and will create 600 jobs during the construction phase and boost SSE’s in-house apprentice, trainee engineer and graduate programmes.
“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 SSE subsidiary Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission.
The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and is 16 per cent owned by the UK government.
Over the last decade the Bank has provided more than £10bn for investment in energy infrastructure across the UK including renewable energy schemes, national transmission networks and regional power distribution as well as inter-connectors to Ireland, France and the Netherlands.
“Investment in energy infrastructure across the UK is essential to harness the full potential of new and future renewable energy schemes,” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President.
“The European Investment Bank is pleased to provide £500m to support essential investment by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc 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.”
Scotland is increasingly reliant on renewable sources, wind power provided a record 40 per cent of its energy needs last November.
Last week, the country closed its last remaining coal-fired power station, Longannet, which had been in operation for 46 years.