Cable laying vessel docks in Aberdeen in advance of Caithness-Moray offshore cable installation

Two engineers standing in front of the cable laying vessel

The newly launched NKT purpose-built vessel has docked in Aberdeen Harbour in preparation for its maiden project to install two subsea power cables connecting Caithness to Moray.

The NKT Victoria, which has just arrived following its maiden voyage from Sweden, is being used to lay 113km of high voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cable across the Moray Firth as part of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ £1.1bn Caithness-Moray transmission project. 

The purpose-built cable laying vessel will lay the cables in two campaigns – the first from Noss Head in Caithness to the midpoint of the cable route and the second from Portgordon in Moray to the end of the previously laid cable. 

This significant milestone follows on from the recent successful clearance of rocks and boulders along the proposed route of the Moray Firth and the ongoing work to create a trench in preparation for the cable installation. Once the cable has been successfully installed, the specialist plough which is being used to create the trench will be brought back and reconfigured to backfill the trench using the seabed material previously excavated¬ during the trenching operation.

SSEN Lead Project Manager Brian Mitchell said: “We are delighted that this specialist cable laying vessel has arrived safely following its maiden voyage from Sweden. The installation of the subsea cable is one of the major components of the Caithness-Moray project and the arrival of the NKT Victoria marks a very exciting milestone for SSEN and our contractors as we look forward to the subsea cable installation over the summer.”

Thies Helbig, ABB Project Director, added: “We are pleased to be supporting this major transmission project that will enable integration of a significant amount of renewable energy into the grid and supply clean, emission-free electricity to millions of people.  ABB pioneered HVDC technology and continues to lead the way through innovation, as seen from several recent breakthroughs.”

Arne Abrahamsson, NKT Cables Project Manager, said: “The laying of this subsea cable is NKT Victoria’s first project. The NKT Victoria offers state-of-the-art cable laying capability with DP3 dynamic positioning as well as a remotely operated vehicle featuring cameras and sonar to enable high-precision laying of high-voltage offshore cables. The vessel also uses electrical power from the shore when in harbour, rather than running on board diesel generators, so that cable loading is carried out using environmentally friendly power.”

Andrew Wylie, Xodus Group Scotland Operations Director said: “This is an exciting time for the team as the project hits another key stage in the process. Projects involving submarine interconnection demand rigorous risk management and know-how in multiple technical disciplines. With our years of experience on diverse projects, we are providing marine engineering and installation advice for all aspects of the submarine cable installation and providing guidance as the Employer’s Representative on board the vessel.”

The Caithness-Moray project is required to transport renewable electricity from across the north of Scotland to areas of demand across Scotland and beyond.

The vessel is expected to depart Aberdeen on Saturday morning in preparation for the cable installation.

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Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.7 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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