National Grid’s Viking Link has started construction on its UK converter station at Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire with Siemens Energy.
Representing a significant step in the UK’s journey to net zero, Siemens Energy, lead contractor for the 1400 megawatt interconnector, will supply the technology that will enable the direct sharing of clean electricity between Britain and Denmark for the very first time.
A converter station converts electricity between Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC). AC is used in each country’s transmission system, while DC is used for sending electricity long distances along the subsea cables. An identical converter station will be constructed at the other end of the interconnector, in Denmark.
The converter station will be 300m2, the equivalent of around 12 football pitches. It will house state-of-the-art High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) PLUS technology, which enables the export and import of energy through the 765-kilometer subsea and underground cable to and from Denmark.
In July, UK work started to build a new access road and a bridge over the Hammond Beck waterway. This new permanent infrastructure will enable access for the major construction equipment to the converter station and for operational vehicles to access the site once the converter station is completed in 2023, reducing traffic through Bicker Village.
In total around 60 people are working on the site following Government and industry guidelines for Covid-19 management. Measures introduced include, temperature checks, enhanced PPE (personal protective equipment), hand sanitiser stations across the site, regular cleaning as well as strict social distancing.
“Viking Link will play a vital role in the UK’s future energy system allowing the transmission of power with Denmark. This will enable further decarbonisation of the UK’s electricity supplies and help reach net zero, said Mark Pilling, head of transmission solutions, Siemens Energy UK&I. “This next stage of construction will see the heart of the project begin to take shape, with the converter station housing the equipment needed to transmit this power safely and efficiently.”
Mike Elmer, Viking Link Project Director for National Grid Ventures said, “The start of construction of the converter station in Lincolnshire is a major milestone for the project as it will play an integral role in connecting the British and Danish electricity systems.
By connecting the two countries’ grids for the first time, Viking Link will ensure a secure, sustainable and affordable supply of electricity to both British and Danish consumers.
“As part of a network of subsea, clean energy super-highways connecting the UK with its neighbours, Viking Link will help to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions from the power sector. By 2030, 90% of electricity imported via National Grid’s interconnectors will be from zero carbon sources.”
Viking Link project is a joint venture between National Grid Ventures, part of National Grid, and the Danish electricity system owner and operator, Energinet. The 1.4 GW high voltage electricity interconnector will be the longest in the world when completed, stretching 765km subsea and onshore connecting from Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire, UK and Revsing in South Jutland, Denmark to enable clean energy to be shared.
Both converter stations will use HVDC PLUS voltage-sourced converters in a modular multilevel converter arrangement (VSC-MMC) which combines the advantages of HVDC transmission with extra benefits like AC voltage control, black-start capability, and other functions that improve the performance and network stability of both connected AC networks.