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Ofgem announces £95 million upgrade of Scottish network

1/31/2011 power transmission news power transmission news

UK energy regulator Ofgem yesterday announced a £95 million upgrade of Scotland’s high voltage grid.

The two-year programme will increase the capacity of Scotland’s power networks to allow the connection of more renewables.

Over £80 million will be ploughed into National Grid Electricity Transmission and Scottish Power Transmission to improve connections between Scotland and England to enable the region to export renewable energy.

A further £11.5 million will go to Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission to upgrade the network in the north of Scotland, while £1 million will go towards initial development work on a National Grid plan to link Pembroke with Wylfa in Wales, the site of a potential new nuclear power station, as well as possible new offshore wind generation in the Irish Sea.

The new funding takes the total investment in the UK’s power grid to over £400 million in the last year, says Ofgem.

The regulator announced a year ago a new framework under the existing price control regime to provide interim funding for infrastructure upgrades.

Funding under the framework could increase by a further £140 million if Ofgem proceeds with plans to extend projects approved last year.

These projects include plans to link Hunterston in Scotland with Deeside in England.

Meanwhile, today Ofgem announced eight bidders that will compete for three high-voltage transmission lines linking three new offshore wind farms at Gwynt y Môr, Lincs and London Array to the grid.

In the spring, a shortlist will be selected from the eight, which include Balfour Beatty Capital, Cheung King Infrastructure Holdings/Hongkong Electric, Mitsubishi and National Grid Offshore, that will move onto the final selection process in the summer.

The winning bidders will own and operate the links, which will represent over 1.4 GW of new capacity, for the next 20 years.

Ofgem says it plans to tender for a further three projects – Humber Gateway, West of Dudden Sands and Race Bank – next spring.

In total, the six projects represent £1.9 billion in transmission links for some 2.8 GW of new offshore wind capacity.