Chris Bunyan asks Sustainable Shetland to explain clearly in what circumstances it would support linking Shetland to the National Grid with a cable to the mainland. (Any answers? SN, 24/01/14)
If technology and economics allowed for renewable energy projects, linked to the National Grid, to be mutually beneficial for the communities and environments of both Shetland and the rest of the UK; that could meet with approval.
At present it is, admittedly, unlikely, and would require a sea change in the way renewables and energy (including conservation) as a whole are researched, planned, and implemented, both locally and nationally.
Sadly, in spite of warnings that there should be a coordinated energy strategy, the very opposite seems to be the case.
The costs and benefits of an interconnector even then should be balanced against alternatives for renewables development in the isles, such as, for example, embedded generation and district heating schemes, which do not require a cable to the National Grid.
Such alternatives are either ignored or have been dismissed by proponents of the Viking wind farm as impossible or ludicrous.
The interconnector – and converter station – currently proposed would require much more than the Viking wind farm itself to justify their operation – possibly as much as another 100 similar turbines.
This would likely run counter to local planning guidance or policy, and would be totally unacceptable to Sustainable Shetland.
Chris Bunyan is on record as saying he would like a second interconnector – presumably for another 600MW of generation. I shudder to think what he envisages for Shetland’s environment.
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