Attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony of Sumitomo Electric's Subsea Cable factory (14th May 2024)

On 14th May, Consul General Tadashi Fujiwara and Commercial Counsellor Hiroki Aoki from the Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Sumitomo Electric") subsea cable factory, held at the Port of Nigg in the Scottish Highlands. The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Sumitomo Electric President Osamu Inoue, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy Màiri McAllan, and other senior government officials, and Rob McDonald, President of SSEN Transmission (SSEN) as well as many other private sector officials. Construction of the 58,000 square meter factory on the 15-hectare site will be a 350 million pound project and is the first monumental investment towards the “Green Freeport” initiative at the Port of Nigg. The plant will manufacture inter array power cables for the connection of windfarms as well as the current highest technology High Voltage DC offshore interconnector cables at a rating of 525 000V. The establishment of the plant is expected to create approximately 330 jobs over the next decade, 265 of which will be in the Highlands and Islands, and 150 on-site jobs.

In conjunction with the groundbreaking ceremony, Mr Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission, announced the selection of Sumitomo and its cable installation partner Van Oord, as preferred bidders for the proposed Shetland 2 High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) subsea power cable project. This project would connect the UK mainland with the northernmost part of the Shetland Isles over approximately 330km.

Transmission cables are a key infrastructure for the transition to renewable energy, and the plant is expected to contribute towards the development of the Highlands economies and the realisation of the net-zero targets set by the UK and Scottish governments.