EU funding boost for Scotland-Norway power cable
Plans for a 400-mile subsea power cable linking Scotland and Norway have been given a boost after the EU agreed to part-fund its development phase.
Scandinavian consortium NorthConnect said it was eligible for more than 10 million euros of EU cash to support its electricity interconnector plans.
The project was given the green light by regulator Ofgem last year.
NorthConnect plans to build a £1.3bn power cable between Boddam in Aberdeenshire and Eidfjord in Norway.
The project aims to link hydro power from Norway with wind energy from Scotland.
It is scheduled to start operating from 2022.
The European funding is coming from the Connecting Europe Facility, the EU's support programme for infrastructure.
NorthConnect's deputy project manager, Richard Blanchfield, said: "The decision demonstrates that the European Union considers the NorthConnect Project important to achieving the strategic goals of increasing security of energy supply, and contributing to sustainable development by integrating renewable energy sources across the European Union."
In 2015, Aberdeenshire Council approved an application by the consortium to build an electricity converter station and underground cables at Boddam.
The converter station and onshore cables are required to connect the interconnector cable to the National Grid.
Interconnectors are transmission cables that allow electricity to flow from one country to another.
Responding to the EU funding announcement, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "If Scotland and the rest of Europe are to move to a 100% renewable future then greater use of interconnectors is an essential part of that future.
"Greater interconnection brings the double benefits of ensuring security of supply and removing the need to build lots of expensive new nuclear or fossil fuel power stations.
"Sharing different renewable resources between nations allows us to fulfil our renewable energy potential and drive down climate emissions across northern Europe, much more effectively than relying on domestic action alone."
NorthConnect is jointly owned by Swedish utility Vattenfall and Norwegian companies E-CO Energi, Agder Energi and Lyse.