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Social Innovation

North Sea Link

The Background:

The North Sea Link is the world’s longest subsea interconnector that stretches 720 kilometres under the North Sea from Blyth, UK to Kvilldal, Norway, at depths of up to 700 metres.

It enables green energy to be shared between the UK and Norway.

The North Sea Link can share up to 1,400 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power around 1.4 million UK homes.

The Challenge:

Sometimes the sun doesn’t shine, and sometimes the wind doesn’t blow. The dream of powering our world with renewable energy is a challenge because these sources are not very stable. Storing energy in batteries is part of the solution, but being able to share energy between countries provides benefits on a far larger scale.

Hitachi is a climate change innovator, and is committed to helping customers, cities and governments cut carbon. For this project, Hitachi worked with Statnett and National Grid to create the North Sea Link, to increase the reliability and security of electricity supply in both UK and Norway.

The Solution:

The North Sea Link enables 2-way energy sharing. When wind generation is high and electricity demand is low in Britain, the North Sea Link carries green power to Norway, conserving water in Norway’s reservoirs. When demand is high in Britain and there is low wind generation, hydroelectric power can be imported from Norway, helping to ensure secure, affordable, and sustainable electricity supplies for UK consumers.

As part of its project scope, Hitachi Energy designed, engineered and supplied two 515-kilovolt (kV), 1,400-MW converter stations using HVDC Light® based on voltage sourced converter (VSC) technology, featuring several advanced capabilities to stabilize adjacent AC grids. A converter station is located at each end of the 720-kilometer long interconnector - one in Blyth, UK, and the other in Kvilldal, Norway.

The interconnector took six years to build, with work to lay the undersea cables beginning in 2018. It took more than four million working hours to complete, including 5,889 working days at sea and incredible engineering feats to navigate through Norwegian fjords, mountains, and across the North Sea.

The Future:

The power connection will benefit both countries economically, increasing security of electricity supplies contributing to a more climate friendly electricity system for the future.

This is a plan for social innovation. It is a blueprint and a beginning for sharing renewable energy all over the world.

To meet domestic and international renewable and climate change targets, Hitachi Energy will continue to develop innovative technologies that will enable more efficient use of renewable power.

  • Customers: Statnett and National Grid
  • Industry: Energy
  • Region: UK and Norway
  • Release Date: March 2022
  • Products & Services: HVDC Light converter stations
  • Solutions By: Hitachi Energy