Western Link
Western Link 4 N

Ofgem Investigating National Grid, Scottish Power Over Western HVDC Subsea Cable

Feb. 3, 2020
The investigation will review the performance of National Grid Electricity Transmission and Scottish Power Transmission in delivering the cable.

Ofgem has launched an investigation into National Grid Electricity Transmission plc and SP (Scottish Power) Transmission plc for the delivery and operation of the Western high-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cable.

The Western HVDC is a £1.3 billion subsea cable that transports electricity between Scotland, Wales and England. The project was undertaken by a joint venture between National Grid Electricity Transmission and Scottish Power Transmission.

The investigation will review the performance of National Grid Electricity Transmission and Scottish Power Transmission in delivering the cable. It will consider whether its late delivery means they breached special licence condition 6I, which specifies the expected delivery date of the Western HVDC subsea cable. Additionally the investigation will consider compliance with standard licence condition D (provision of transmission services) and section 9(2) of the Electricity Act 1989 (provision of economical, efficient and co-ordinated services).

The investigation will also examine potential breaches relating to the operation of the cable.

The opening of this investigation does not imply that Ofgem has made any findings about non-compliance by National Grid Electricity Transmission or Scottish Power Transmission.

The 420-km cable was originally scheduled to be fully operational by regulatory year 2016/2017, but construction and commissioning setbacks meant full operation was not achieved until October, 2018, according to S&P Global Platts. "The link has suffered various outages, compromising its primary role -- shipping Scottish wind power to load centers in the south of England. Most recently the link suffered an unplanned outage January 10 this year and is expected to be out of commission until mid-February, the S&P Report stated.

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