World's longest land and subsea electricity-sharing cable switched on in Lincolnshire

The Viking Link valve hall at Bicker Fen Credit: Siemens Energy

The world's longest land and undersea electricity cable has been switched on, allowing the UK to share renewable electricity with Denmark.

The Viking Link is the sixth intercontinental power cable to join the UK's energy network to other countries, and connects with the national power grid at the Bicker Fen substation near Boston in Lincolnshire.

The other end of the £1.7 billion cable is connected to Denmark at Revsing, giving it a total length of 765km (475 miles).

Viking Link has the capacity to power up to 2.5 million homes with cheaper and cleaner electricity, generated using environmentally-friendly methods like wind turbines in Europe.

The Viking Link converter station at Bicker Fen. Credit: National Grid

During periods of high energy demand, the UK will be able to import the electricity from the continent. It will then be able to send power the other way when there is high demand in European countries and the UK is generating more energy than it needs.

The cable was laid under the seabed by contractors using a custom-built ship, the Leonardo Da Vinci, and buried on land between the coast at Sutton-on-Sea, near Mablethorpe, and Bicker Fen.

In its first year of operation, National Grid Ventures, which runs the project, says Viking Link is expected to save approximately 600,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to taking roughly 280,000 cars off the road.

By 2030, the company expects 90% of the energy imported through the company’s interconnectors will be from zero carbon energy sources. 

Leonardo Da Vinci, a custom-built ship used to lay the cable under the sea. Credit: Prysmian Group

President of National Grid Ventures, Katie Jackson said: “This record-breaking new link is a fantastic example of engineering and collaboration with our partner, Energinet [in Denmark].

"As we deploy more wind power to meet our climate and energy security targets, connections to our neighbouring countries will play a vital role increasing security of supply and reducing prices for consumers.

"Stretching further across land and sea than any of our existing links, it connects the UK to clean, green Danish energy, improving security of supply and bringing huge carbon and cost savings for UK consumers.”

Viking Link joins the existing cables connecting the UK to France (two), Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Two more links, one each to Belgium and the Netherlands, and currently being planned.

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