What will the Scotland to England green energy 'superhighway' achieve?

Summary

  • UK has launched a major green energy infra project to build undersea power cable from Scotland
  • The power cables to bring vast underutilized resources in Scotland to the UK consumers 
  • The energy superhighway will be 270 miles long

 

The UK has initiated a major infrastructure initiative as a stepping stone to make itself carbon neutral. It will be laying undersea cables between Scotland and England to exploit the extensive renewables potential and power homes in the rest of Britain. 

The multibillion project would be 270 miles long and would be running from 2 separate points -- Peterhead and Torness in Scotland and would connect Selby and Hawthorn Point in England.  Scotland already generates more than 90 per cent of its annual electricity through renewables. Moreover, it houses ample resources which can produce enough power to fulfill the needs of all households in the UK. 

Among all the measures taken so far by the government to fulfill its objective of going carbon neutral, this project holds paramount importance. In October, the government committed to delivering floating offshore wind energy of more than 1 GW by 2030 under its ‘Build Back Green’ initiative. 

 

Energy superhighway 

The Energy ‘Superhighway’ project is part of the British government’s ‘Build Back Green’ initiative, where in Scottish power, National Grid and SSE have been chosen to execute the project.

The government’s primary focus is to develop offshore wind resources and to meet power demands for all households using green energy by 2030. The implementing companies said that the initiative would support hundreds of green jobs during construction and later for operations. 

The undersea cables shall carry around 2GW power, which is one of the longest in the world. They would transport enough energy to power 4.5 million households across the UK. 

The project would be built on the east coast of the country. Another project, the western link project, was built a few years back at a cost of £1.3 billion and started operating in 2017. It ran into trouble with the regulators for missing the deadline. 

The green superhighway will build on the experience gained over the last decade while constructing the western link project. This east coast project is set to start construction in 2024.

Scotland’s resources

Scotland has vast wind, tide and wave energy resources. In the beginning of 2020, the country had an installed renewable energy capacity totalling 11.8 Gigawatt. 

Last year, the nation produced a total of 30,528 GigaWatt hours of renewable energy. It accounted for nearly 90 per cent of its total energy consumption for the year. 

Industry estimates suggest that Scotland has a renewable energy potential of 66.53 Giga watt, around six times its current installed capacity. 

So, it has a significant potential to not only satisfy the electricity needs of the entire UK but to supply to other European countries as well.  

Carbon neutral mission

Britain has taken a pledge to get carbon neutral by 2050.  When the country was a part of the European Union, it was party to several regulations for keeping environment degradation under control.  One of the crucial regulations brought in is the individual country requirement for lowering carbon footprint. 

Stringent regulations are in place on the auto sector to produce vehicles with low carbon emissions and eventually move out of the internal combustion technology. 

More and more emphasis is being put on the electric vehicles with power sourced from the renewables. Utility companies are also being asked to increasingly source their energy requirements from green fuels, eliminating the need for fossil fuels. 

The steel, cement, and thermal energy sectors use significant amounts of coal. They are now being asked to substitute or sharply slash the fuel usage or attract penalties. 

The airline industry is also not spared. It emits carbon dioxide and derivative greenhouses gases in the upper reaches of the atmosphere. It now faces regulations to lower its carbon footprint. Last but not the least, the coal and oil companies face net zero carbon emission targets.

The share price performance of National Grid plc (LON: NG) on LSE in the past one month

Source- Thomson Reuters (Past One month)

The share price of National Grid plc was hovering at GBX 931.20 on 18 November at 8.03 am, down 0.53 per cent from its previous day’s close.

The share price performance of SSE plc (LON: SSE) on LSE in the past one month

Source- Thomson Reuters (Past One month)

As on 18 November at 8.04 am, the shares of SSE plc traded at a value of GBX 1,367.00, gaining 1.41 per cent over the previous day’s close.

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