UK-based energy companies SSE, ScottishPower and National Grid have agreed to deliver Eastern Link, a renewable electric underwater super-highway from Scotland to north-east England.

The three companies will lead the project featuring the world’s longest subsea HVDC cables with a combined capacity of up to 4GW. The project will be initiated from Peterhead and Torness in Scotland.

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They were also confirmed as principal partners of the United Nations 26th Climate Conference (COP26).

SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “The development of the East Coast link is one of the most exciting energy developments over recent decades and is essential to delivering the UK’s 40GW offshore wind target by 2030 and critical to our own commitment to build a network for net-zero emissions.

“With the eyes on the UK ahead of COP26 next year, this project clearly demonstrates how the UK is leading the world in tackling the climate emergency and supporting thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities.”

The Eastern Link project is expected to create hundreds of employment opportunities during the construction and operational phases.

Once operational, the 440km underwater super-highway would significantly increase the UK’s capacity for clean, green renewable power.

The clean energy delivered by the cable will be sufficient to power four million homes.

Green energy will be transmitted from the east of Scotland to two points in the north-east of England including Selby and Hawthorn Point.

The construction works on the Eastern Link are expected to begin from 2024.

National Grid UK executive director Nicola Shaw said: “This project will help transport enough renewable electricity for around 4.5 million homes across the UK and will become part of the backbone of the UK’s energy system.

“It’s a great example of companies working together on impressive engineering feats that will help the country hit its net-zero carbon target by 2050.”