Viking Link connects UK and Danish grids

National Grid has formally launched Viking Link, a new 1.4GW interconnector that directly joins up the UK and Danish grids for the first time.

The 465-mile cable stretches across the North Sea between Lincolnshire and Jutland
The 465-mile cable stretches across the North Sea between Lincolnshire and Jutland - Viking Link

The 475-mile capacity link is claimed to be the longest land and subsea cable in the world, running from Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire to southern Jutland, Denmark. With both countries rapidly expanding their offshore wind power assets, Viking Link is set to play a central role in the ‘North Sea super grid’ that is currently taking shape.

According to National Grid, the interconnector is capable of powering around 2.5 million homes and will deliver £5.2bn in benefits to UK consumers. Since it commenced initial operations in December 2023, Viking Link has transported 1,733GWh of power between the two countries. In it’s first year it is expected to save 600,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.  

“Physical connections to other countries are central to the international collaboration which sits at the heart of the energy transition we are undergoing,” National Grid CEO, John Pettigrew said in a statement.

“In an ever-changing global energy market, the value that connections like Viking Link can provide to national energy security cannot be understated. Over its lifespan, this record-breaking connection will deliver over five billion pounds in efficiencies for UK consumers, allow us to trade hundreds of gigawatts in surplus power, and provide an indispensable tool in guaranteeing the continued reliability of our energy system.” 

The UK’s ambitious plans to increase its offshore wind portfolio in the coming decade means the country could become a net exporter of electricity by the 2030s. Alongside Viking Link, the 1.8GW LionLink connection with the Netherlands is expected to be operational by 2030, while plans for the 1.4GW Nautilus link with Belgium are also in progress.

National Grid said its interconnector fleet as a whole will help the UK to avoid around 100 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030, with 90 per cent of imported energy coming from zero carbon sources. Work is also underway on the private NeuConnect cable that will link the UK and Germany for the first time. 

“Our existing fleet, Viking Link and our planned Nautilus and LionLink projects will act as the cornerstone for North Sea nations to make the most of up to 300GW of offshore wind generation, delivering low-cost renewable energy to consumers with the least impact on coastal communities,” said Pettigrew.