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Shetland energy solution by 2019

SHETLAND could be powered by electricity from wind farms located in the North of Scotland rather than by a new power station, according to one proposal put forward to secure the islands’ energy supply beyond 2019.

Last autumn the European Business Team (EBD) within Nation Grid presented their plans to stakeholders during a meeting held in the isles.

Operating independently from the company’s electricity transmission business, EBD proposes to lay a 100MW cable from Dounreay to Shetland mainland to provide all demand on the islands while also integrating into the Shetland smart grid (NINES).

In a letter to Jamie McGrigor MSP, the company said such a link would provide a route to market for community renewable project and would secure supplies by utilising “renewable energy primarily generated by wind farms in the north of Scotland”.

“The use of renewable energy from wind farms in the north of Scotland will assist issues such as constraint management and potentially allow consented projects to realise their investment sooner by obtaining earlier grid connection dates where capacity becomes available,” the company writes.

This is however just one idea of how Shetland’s electricity supply could be secured once the ageing power station at Gremista is switched off.

On Friday, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) said it was on course to invite bids this spring to find the most cost-effective solution for the isles.

Plans for a £200 million power station to be built at Lerwick’s Rova Head were put on hold two years ago after they were rejected by Ofgem.

The energy regulator said SHEPD had not done enough to prove the 120 megawatt station they proposed was the most economic option.

Since then the power company has held extensive consultations, which have drawn more than 300 responses.

SHEPD said the main demands were for security of supply and energy efficiency.

The level of engagement and the range of technologies potentially involved has held up the process of preparing technical information on which detailed bids will be based.

Potential suppliers have already gone through a pre-qualification process.

SHEPD have appointed Daniel Pearson, the former chief executive of the Caithness tidal project Meygen, as project manager.

Pearson said: “A lot of work has already gone in to the preparation of what is a new process for Shetland to reflect the unique circumstances of the island network.

“The process is unavoidably complex in order to make it as open as possible to all technologies, so that the most economic overall solution can be identified.

“We are making good progress and will be working hard with Ofgem over the coming months to ensure that the tender documents establish a strong foundation for the future of Shetland’s electricity supply.”

 

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