The engineers behind the North Sea Link Interconnector Project (NSL) have received the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Major Project Award for Sustainability 2022 for delivering the longest subsea interconnector in the world. Delivered in partnership between the National Grid and Statnett, the high-voltage direct current subsea interconnector allows renewable energy to flow between Norway and the UK for the first time. NSL supports efficient energy trade and allows both countries to benefit from increased flexibility and energy security.
NSL enables the primary renewable energy sources of each country to offset the intermittency in power supply of the other. Norwegian power generation is primarily sourced from hydropower plants connected to large reservoirs, with the water levels in these reservoirs subject to weather conditions, leading to variable energy supply in different seasons and years. Simultaneously, the UK has an increasing proportion of power generated by wind. When wind generation is high and energy demand is low in the UK, NSL will enable renewable power to be exported from the UK to Norway, conserving water supply in Norwegian reservoirs. When energy demand is high in the UK and there is low wind generation, hydropower can be imported from Norway. This helps to ensure secure, affordable and sustainable electricity supplies for consumers and support both countries’ net zero targets.
The recipients of the Major Project Award are:
NSL began operating commercially on 1st October 2021, after six years of construction costing €1.6 billion. Laying of the undersea cables began in 2018 with more than four million working hours spent on the project, including 5,880 working days at sea. The team also engaged extensively with local communities to inspire new generations of scientists and engineers and demonstrate the importance of engineering innovation as part of a sustainable net zero future.
Professor Bashir M. Al-Hashimi CBE FREng, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Committee, said: “The North Sea Link Interconnector Project marks a major milestone by facilitating renewable energy transmission between Norway and the UK for the first time. The largest feat of its kind in the world, we’re pleased to recognise this project as an example of how international co-operation towards a clean, stable energy supply can be enabled through the power of engineering.”
Jennifer McCartney, Development Engineer on the North Sea Link Interconnector Project, said: “We are thrilled to have been recognised with such a prestigious award. North Sea Link is an incredible feat of engineering and also the perfect example of collaborating with our partners on a project to benefit countries on either side of the interconnector. To have completed such an amazing project in the midst of a global pandemic is a huge achievement and a real team effort.”
1. The Major Project Award for Sustainability recognises the contribution of a team of up to five engineers, based in the UK, who have delivered a major engineering project that has had a substantial impact on society. Previous winners include the engineers behind the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak Upgrade, The Ordsall Chord, the Queensferry Crossing, the Shah Deniz 2 project, and the technology to communicate with the Rosetta spacecraft as it delivered the Philae probe onto the surface of a comet. Winners of the Major Project Award receive a silver gilt medal.
2. Annual Awards Dinner 2022. This year’s Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Dinner takes place in London on Tuesday 12 July. Along with the announcement of the winner of this year’s MacRobert Award, the event will also celebrate the winners of other awards and prizes including The Princess Royal Silver Medals, the President’s Medal, the Rooke Award and the RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year. The headline sponsor of this year’s Awards Dinner is BAE Systems, with gold sponsors bp and Rolls-Royce.
3. The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.
In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public.
Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.
For media enquiries please contact: Chris Urquhart at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. +44 207 766 0725; email: Chris.Urquhart@raeng.org.uk