Ofgem launches investigation over Western Link powercable which runs between Scotland and Deeside
Energy market regulator Ofgem has launched an investigation into the delivery of a high-voltage subsea cable which carries energy from Scottish windfarms to Deeside following a series of failures.
The £1.1bn Western Link project is a joint venture between Scottish Power Transmission and National Grid.
The cable runs from Hunterston in Scotland to a converter station close to Flintshire Bridge in Connah’s Quay.
Manufactured by Italian firm Prysmian, the high-voltage cable is nearly 530 miles long, 480 miles of it runs under the sea.
It was expected to come online at the end of 2015 but did not become fully operational until late 2018.
Since then the project has been plagued with faults according to the Renewable Energy Foundation, each fault typically takes several weeks to locate and fix.
The cable failed again on 10 January, Prysmian Group said it had found the cause of the fault following an investigation.
A press release from the cable manufacture said: “The position of the fault in the Western HVDC Link communicated on January the 12th, has been located on pole 2 of the southern land part of the link.”
Operators of onshore wind farms receive constraint payments to turn off turbines when supply outstrips demand.
Energy providers must compensate the wind farms, if the power they produce cant be transmitted.
In the latest case, National Grid (NGET) and Scottish Power (SPT) will be forced to pay up to £5m which will ultimately be passed onto to customers.
Ofgem confirmed it has opened an investigation as to whether Scottish Power Transmission and National Grid has been in breach of special licence conditions relating to the delivery and operation of the Western Link.
The energy regulator is also investigating potential breaches of the Electricity Transmission Licence which relates to failures to provide transmission services.
Ofgem said: “The opening of this investigation does not imply that we have made any findings about possible non-compliance by NGET, nor by SPT.”
In a joint statement National Grid and Scottish Power said: “We will continue to work with Ofgem in an open and transparent manner and will fully co-operate with this investigation.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com