Scotland business

Work begins on £1bn link between Hunterston and Connah's Quay

Construction work is under way on a converter station at Hunterston in Ayrshire that will be one end of an 260-mile (418km) undersea electricity transmission line.

The £1bn offshore power line, a joint venture between Scottish Power and National Grid, will link Ayrshire to Connah's Quay in North Wales.

It should be fully operational by 2016.

The link could increase the capacity of electricity flowing between Scotland and England by 2,000 megawatts (MW).

This would be enough capacity to meet the electricity demands of more than four million homes per year, Scottish Power claimed.

The interconnector, which is known as the Western Link HVDC project, would open up the potential for Scottish wind power to be exported to the heavily populated areas of England that need new green sources of electricity.

The project would allow the flow of electricity north or south according to future supply and demand.

The high-voltage line will run from Hunterston down the west side of the Isle of Man, coming onshore at Connah's Quay in North Wales, close to Liverpool.

Another interconnector of similar capacity is planned for the east coast.

Scottish Power chairman Ignacio Galan said: "We are pleased to mark the start of construction on this hugely ambitious sub-sea electricity connection project."

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