Mutual Energy has completed a state-of-the-art refurbishment of the Moyle Interconnector’s control system, ensuring the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) electricity link between Scotland and Northern Ireland is well equipped for the future, improving security of supply for Northern Ireland energy users.


The upgrade will ensure the already world leading Moyle Interconnector continues to deliver safe, reliable, and secure operation for years to come. New highly improved controls have been installed, as well as new communications and operator interfaces, all with advanced cyber protection.


Work started on the refurbishment project four years ago, with two years of design and manufacturing followed by a year of factory testing in 2021, before site works commenced earlier this year. Partnering with Siemens Energy to deliver the upgrade, Mutual Energy was able to minimise the impact to day-to-day operations, with the interconnector maintaining 50 per cent capacity for most of the project.


The project will also see the installation of a replica of the control system at the National HVDC Centre in Cumbernauld, Scotland by the end of 2022 which will allow real time simulations to be carried out to evaluate performance and test future software releases.


Paddy Larkin, CEO of Mutual Energy, which owns and operates the Moyle Interconnector, said the refurbishment will bring benefits for Northern Ireland consumers for years to come.


“For the past 20 years, the Moyle Interconnector has been a key asset serving Northern Ireland’s energy needs. Already one of the most reliable interconnectors in the world, this upgrade enhances the operation and functionality of Moyle, ensuring the interconnector remains fully equipped to deliver electricity between Scotland and Northern Ireland and provide valuable services to help the electricity system operators in NI and GB manage the electricity network effectively.


“We are very grateful to our partners, particularly Siemens Energy who led on the upgrade, for the successful completion of this project. For us it was crucial that downtime was minimised during the works to allow normal operations to continue as far as possible, and we are delighted that Siemens Energy were able to deliver on this requirement.


“These improvements will ensure that Moyle can continue to deliver safe, reliable and secure operation, while accommodating more variable system conditions, to meet the needs of Northern Ireland consumers in the years ahead.”


Hauke Jürgensen, Senior Vice President Grid Solutions at Siemens Energy, said:


“While electricity generation from renewable energies is increasing, we also see how the demands on the electricity grid are changing. The refurbishment was an important step to ensure that the interconnector can meet these demands: In addition to the transport of green electricity, the modernised control system now also improves security of supply by flexibly providing additional grid services such as frequency support and reacting fast to market dynamics.”


Partners on the project included Siemens Energy, TransGrid Solutions, TNEI and Arthur Cox.