The UK Minister for Energy, Brian Wilson, has announced an ambitious plan for the construction of an offshore electricity transmission grid to be built along the west coast of the UK, linking it directly to the mainland national grid.

The west coast of the UK has large undeveloped renewable resources. If these are to be fully exploited, there will be a need to upgrade the existing electricity infrastructure. One possibility would be the development of an underwater cable to connect parts of the western seaboard of Scotland, northwest England, Northern Ireland, western Wales and possibly the southwest of England, directly to the National Grid. An initial study, funded by the government’s renewable research and development programme, is to be carried out by UK-based PB Power, which will look into the feasibility of such an interconnector.

‘The UK has huge untapped renewable resources but much of this potential cannot be fully utilised at present,’ said Wilson. ‘The proposed interconnector is a possible means of capturing this powerflow and transmitting it around the UK, without encountering many of the inevitable environmental concerns which land based transmission systems would attract.’