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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 00:10 GMT
Undersea power cable 'possible'
The undersea cable could deliver energy down the east coast
An undersea cable taking electricity from Shetland and Orkney to south east England is viable, according to a new report by the Crown Estate.

It says such a project would be economically and technically possible and may ultimately connect Scottish green energy projects to Europe.

The findings are revealed on the day the Scottish Parliament is due to hold a debate on energy.

Further studies into an undersea cable are expected to be conducted.

The East Coast Transmission Network: Technical Feasibility Study found an offshore east coast transmission line could take electricity from as far north as Shetland to the south east of the UK, with the potential to connect to the rest of Europe.

The prospect of taking green energy right down the east coast to heavily populated areas in the south, and potentially to the rest of Europe, is incredibly exciting
Rob Hastings
The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate - which owns most of the UK's sea bed - last year began looking into the practicality of a high-capacity off-shore electricity line in response to the growing demand for sustainable sources of clean fuel and to help overcome difficulties in providing land-based transmission lines.

The report concludes that such a project could indeed be a success and would allow new renewables projects to connect to the national grid.

However, it warned that there would still need to be reinforcements carried out to the onshore transmission network.

'Very valuable'

The Scottish Government last week identified grid reinforcements to support renewable energy development as a potential national development priority in the National Planning Framework, which is currently out for consultation.

Alasdair Rankin, head of marine business development Scotland at The Crown Estate, said: "We recognise Scotland's massive natural renewable energy resource, which has the potential to be very valuable for Scotland.

"However, connection to the national grid is crucial to the long-term viability of the Scottish renewables industry, and improvements to the network are particularly important for green energy projects in the Highlands and Islands."

Rob Hastings, The Crown Estate's director of the marine estate, added: "The prospect of taking green energy right down the east coast to heavily populated areas in the south, and potentially to the rest of Europe, is incredibly exciting."

It is estimated that the core of the system would cost up to 1.7bn, with the total network costing about 4.8bn by 2020.

Crown Estates spokesman on the project

Underground power line ruled out
13 Dec 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Electricity link doubles in size
28 Oct 99 |  Northern Ireland

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