£200m submarine cable factory for UK

£200m submarine cable factory for UK

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The HIP Atlantic Project will install 10GW of wind turbines by Iceland but connected to the United Kingdom by long, high-capacity, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine cable systems.  These cables are to be manufactured in the United Kingdom at a £200 million ($277m) bespoke submarine cable plant to be built at a port in the northeast of England. 

This will make HIP one of the largest submarine HV cable makers in the world alongside Nexans in France and Prysmian in Italy.

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HIP has applied to the UK’s National Grid Company for 4,000 MW of grid connections to 400 kV electricity transmission system across four connection sites.  Each wind farm – or pod – will be in a different North Atlantic location, and each pod consisting of 1,000 MW of wind turbines will have its own dedicated submarine cable linked to directly to the UK.

HIP Atlantic’s initial 2,000 MW of generation capacity, targeted to be off the southern and  eastern coasts of Iceland, is expected to be commissioned in early 2025 to coincide with the UK’s de-commissioning of its last coal-fired power plants.

The offshore wind pods in the North Atlantic will all be installed in a different meteorological catchment area from current North Sea and Irish Sea wind farms and so HIP renewable electricity can be supplied at times when existing British wind farms are becalmed.  This diversity of wind source provides a geographical portfolio effect to protect the UK transmission grid from too much offshore wind capacity installed in just one region.

HIP Atlantic says it aims to maximise the British manufactured content in every element of its equipment manufacturing and installation process across offshore wind turbine and submarine cable manufacture, installation and operations. HIP estimates the initial 2,000 MW capacity will create 15,000 jobs with the submarine cables and turbine blades, but it will struggle to source turbines from the UK as the main suppliers are Siemens Gamesa, Vestas and GE.

Iceland will be a significant beneficiary of HIP Atlantic’s investment programme in offshore wind.  The initial Icelandic investment for the first 2,000 MW pilot phase of the project is expected to be GBP £2.9 million (US $4 million) in 2021 rising to an additional GBP £144 million (US $200 million) through 2025.  Up to 500 new jobs located in southern and eastern Iceland are associated with just the 2,000 MW pilot phase.

HIP is an Anglo-American joint venture with Hecate Wind LLC in the US and Independent Power Corporation plc in the UK.

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