North Sea Link is the world’s longest subsea electricity cable, and the first direct interconnector between Norway and England. Onshore and offshore works were completed last month. The 720 km interconnector is now in the commissioning phase, during which the cables, converters and IT systems are being tested. On 18 June, the first power was transmitted between the two countries. To date, the link has been successfully tested to a capacity of 700 MW.  


“This is an important step in establishing electricity trading between our two countries,” says Gunnar Løvås, Executive Vice President at Statnett. “We have recently commissioned an interconnector between Norway and Germany, and it is important that the trial operation proceeds in a manner that safeguards the operation of the Norwegian power system. During the trial period, we are testing the installations as close to normal operation as possible, connecting the two markets together for the first time,” he continues. 


Following the commission phase, a three-month trial period will begin for the North Sea Link interconnector in October. To begin with, the maximum capacity will be 700 MW, and capacity will be gradually increased during the trial period, with results being evaluated on an ongoing basis. In trial operation, the maximum rate of change of power flow, known as ramping, will be set at 300 MW per hour.  The market will be notified of capacity changes in the usual manner, through market notices. 


“During the trial period, we will be evaluating both the technology and the effect on the power system. Our ambition is to gradually increase the capacity to 1,400 MW by the end of the trial period,” states Løvås. 


Once the trial period has been completed, the capacity of North Sea Link will be determined in the same way as for the other interconnectors in the region. 


North Sea Link is a 50-50 joint venture between Statnett and Britain's National Grid. The EUR 1.6 bn interconnector will enable the enable the direct sharing of renewable energy between Norway and the UK for the first time, supporting the transition to net zero, and strengthening the security of electricity supplies for both countries. 


Read more about North Sea Link