Approval from Ofgem for the £1.2 billion (EUR 1.5 billion) project means that SSE subsidiary Scottish Hydro Electric (SHE) Transmission can go ahead with the construction of the link between Caithness and Moray.
It has been designed to carry energy from 1.2GW of renewable generation capacity – largely wind — in the far north of Scotland to the more densely populated south.
Ofgem said that it expects the link to help theUK meet its 2020 EU renewable targets at a lower cost to consumers.
SHE Transmission has now submitted more details on the project, and Ofgem is analysing them to check that the spending, technical and delivery plans for the upgrade are appropriate. If the regulator finds that the project could be delivered for less, it will lower the amount of funding.
Scotland in aiming to generate 100% of its power from renewables by 2020 and already exports energy to the rest of the UK.
While Repsol and EDPR are developing the 1.1GW Moray Firth offshore wind project near the transmission link, the power from this project will be carried by different cables running directly from the project to the southern shore of the Firth.