British energy market regulator Ofgem has launched an investigation into National Grid and Scottish Power’s delivery of a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cable which carries energy from Scottish windfarms to north Wales.
The Western HVDC - known as Western Link - is a £1.3 billion subsea cable that transports electricity between Scotland, Wales and England.
The project was undertaken by a joint venture between National Grid Electricity Transmission and Scottish Power Transmission. Scottish Power is owned by Spain’s Iberdrola.
According to a Reuters report, the investigation will review the performance of the two companies in delivering the cable. It will also consider whether the late delivery of the cable means they breached a special licence condition, which specifies the expected delivery date.
The probe will also consider compliance with a licence condition for the provision of transmission services and with the Electricity Act 1989, which deals with the provision of “economical, efficient and co-ordinated services”, Ofgem said.
The cable increased interconnection capacity by over 2,200MW – enough to power more than 4 million homes in Scotland, Wales and England every year, according to Iberdrola, which owns Scottish Power.
As the first subsea link to use a 600kV-rated interconnector, the cable was once described by UK ministers as the perfect symbol of the country's single electricity market.