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Work to replace subsea power cable set to begin

Work to replace a subsea power cable between Rackwick, Hoy (pictured) and Murkle Bay, Caithness is due to begin soon.

Work which will see one of the two submarine electricity distribution cables connecting Orkney to mainland Scotland is due to begin in the coming days.

The £30 million cable replacement project received marine licence approval from Marine Scotland earlier this week. It will see the installation of a new 33 kilovolt (kV) cable which follows the existing route from Murkle Bay, near Thurso, to Rackwick Bay in Hoy. The cable is expected to arrive by Wednesday next week, July 15.

SSEN has said the installation of the new cable will allow for the removal of some sections of existing overhead line on Hoy, to be replaced with underground cable. Work is expected to be completed by November, following an extension of the programme to avoid construction during bird breeding season on the island.

Mark Rough, director of customer operations, with SSEN, said: “We’re committed to ensuring a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity to our customers and this critical investment project is an essential part of that commitment.

“We’d like to thank all stakeholders for their feedback on our proposals during our open-door events last year. Following consultation, we’ve scheduled installation to minimise disruption on local marine life, with the works also planned to avoid the main breeding seasons for key bird populations.

“I’d like to reassure our customers that our teams and contracting partners continue to adhere to social distancing measures and Government guidance to protect the safety of the local community as we carry out this significant programme of works.”

The Pentland Firth East cable was identified for replacement after routine inspections found it was coming to the end of its operational life. In July 2019, SSEN successfully completed repairs to the cable in Rackwick Bay following a cable fault. While customer power supplies were not impacted by this fault, a long-term solution was required to maintain a safe, secure and reliable power supply to homes and businesses in Orkney.

For more information on the Pentland Firth East cable replacement project, click here.

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