• A 760 kilometres cable is being laid under the sea between Denmark and the United Kingdom.
  • It will supply 1.4 million UK homes with green electricity.
  • It’s part of a series of initiatives to prioritise the environment in recovery plans from COVID-19.

Work has begun on the world’s longest high-voltage, direct-current connection, which will see millions of people in the United Kingdom (UK) get their electricity from Denmark.

Stretching 760 kilometres from Revsing on the Jutland peninsula to Lincolnshire in eastern England, the Viking Link is a joint venture between the UK’s National Grid and the Danish electricity operator, Energinet. The German multinational, Siemens Energy, is building the converter stations for either end of the Viking Link.

The Viking Link
620km of cable will be laid under the seabed.
Image: Viking Link

In early 2019, a similar joint venture, called Nemo Link, between the UK’s National Grid and the Belgian energy operator Elia, became operational.

The great, green reset

The UK was the first country to pass laws committing to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. “Not only will [the Viking Link] create local green-collar jobs across the county, but it will also bolster our energy security, reduce bills for consumers, and give our home-grown renewable generators a greater chance to export zero-carbon electricity around the world,” said the UK Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng.

Denmark has a reputation as one of the most progressive green energy economies, and has some of the most ambitious environmental targets, including reducing carbon emissions by 70% by 2030. The country sourced almost half its electricity consumption from wind power last year and it is this renewable energy that will be powering the electricity for the Viking Link.

Putting climate-conscious developments at the heart of efforts to revitalize economies around the world is part of the Great Reset outlook, championed by the World Economic Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Klaus Schwab.

“Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism,” he said.

It is a sentiment shared around the world. Jun Ma Jun, Chairman of the China Green Finance Committee, said the recovery must be “greener than any of the previous recoveries”, speaking at the launch of the Great Reset initiative. He also called upon national governments to ensure the percentage of green projects is higher than any other time in history.

Investments for a greener future

The UK government has also recently announced a series of green investment measures worth almost $3.8 billion as part of a plan to rebuild the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As well as hitting its 2050 net-zero target, the plan is intended to create thousands of so-called green-collar jobs. There will also be grants made available to reduce the carbon footprint of homes, offices, schools, hospitals and other buildings. These will cover some or all of the cost of improved heating and insulation, plus the installation of solar panels and wind turbines. In the case of private housing, the grants will be predominantly available for pensioners and those in receipt of government benefits.

Viking Link is expected to become operational by late 2023. It is costing an estimated $2.3 billion and once online will deliver power to around 1.4 million UK homes. Of its approximately 760km total length, 620km will be laid under the seabed between the UK and Denmark.

Viking Link
The converter station in the UK will switch the electricity from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).
Image: Viking Link

It will supply direct current electricity, which is more stable when being transported over long-distance cables. Before it is piped into UK homes, it will be converted into alternating current.