NSN Link will interconnect Nordic and British energy markets with the world’s longest subsea power link incorporating Nexans’ HVDC cable technology.

  • Power interconnection beneath the North Sea will enable Norway and UK to share up to 1,400MW of green energy from 2021 onwards
  • Statnett SF and National Grid has awarded Nexans a contract valued at around €340m to deliver the subsea cable on the Norwegian side

The NSN Link under the North Sea will enable a two-way exchange of green energy between the Nordic and UK markets through a 730km submarine HVDC (high-voltage direct current) submarine cable system, for which Nexans will design, manufacture and install the major section on the Norwegian side. The 1,400MW link, comprising two 525kV cable systems, is due for completion in 2021. Nexans’ contract for Statnett SF and National Grid is valued at €340m.

Norway and the UK plan to generate more power from renewable sources in order to meet their domestic and international renewable and climate change targets. The NSN Link is being created in collaboration between Statnett, the state owned operator in the Norwegian energy system and the UK’s National Grid. It is designed to help increase opportunities for shared use of renewable energy.

When wind power production in the UK is high, Norway will be able to import power at a lower price than in the Nordic market, helping conserve the water in the country’s hydropower reservoirs. At times when there is little wind in the UK, then it can import Norwegian hydropower at a lower price than in the UK, while helping to ensure security of power supplies.

The NSN Link will run from Blyth in Northumberland on the north-east coast of the UK to Kvilldal in Rogaland on the Norwegian side. HVDC converter stations on each side will connect the link to the onshore grid.

Nexans has been awarded the contracts for Lot 1 of the NSN Link – the Fjord submarine section and the Norwegian tunnel/lake and underground cable for the onshore connection on the Norwegian side. With two cable sub-systems, the contract covers the design, manufacture and installation of some 500km of mass impregnated non-draining (MIND) HVDC cables at depths down to 600m off the coast of Norway. The cables will be laid by Nexans’ own cable-laying vessel, C/S Nexans Skagerrak and protected on the seabed by trenching with Nexans’ Capjet system and rock dumping. Nexans will also provide a shorter length of underground cable for the onshore connection.

The Nexans cables will feature the same reliable and well-proven design implemented successfully for the Skagerrak 4 project for the 140km subsea HVDC interconnector between Denmark and Norway and also selected for the ongoing NordLink project to connect the Norwegian and German power grids.

"Nexans is delighted to be playing a key role in the creation of the NSN Link, which will be the world’s longest subsea power interconnection," said Dirk Steinbrink, Nexans senior executive vice-president high-voltage and underwater cables.

Nexans’ chief executive officer Arnaud Poupart-Lafarge added: "Following so closely on winning a major contract for the NordLink between Norway and Germany earlier in 2015, this is further confirmation of Nexans as the leader in HVDC cable technology for Europe’s developing network of subsea interconnectors. With this new order, we are very proud to have reached a cumulated order book of €2bn."

The NSN Link cables will be developed, tested and manufactured at Nexans’ Halden plant in Norway.