THE TEAM behind the proposed subsea cable between Shetland and the Scottish mainland, which would connect the isles to the national grid, says it is confident of achieving marine consent for construction next year.
A public consultation was held in Mareel in Lerwick on Thursday on the planned 600MW interconnector cable, which would allow the consented Viking Energy wind farm to transmit electricity to the mainland.
Among those in attendance at the feedback session were members of the local fishing and aquaculture industry, as well as Sustainable Shetland, which has long fought against the controversial 103 turbine Viking wind farm.
Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission is currently preparing an application for a marine licence from the Scottish Government, which would allow work on the 257km subsea cable to begin.
If marine consent is given, construction could start in 2019 ahead of expected completion two years later.
Project manager David Inglis said he is hopeful of attaining a marine licence by the middle of next year.
It is expected that an application will be submitted to the government early next year, while marine works approval will also be sought from Shetland Islands Council.
“I’m 100 per cent confident in the development work we’ve done so far to allow a connection to happen,” Inglis said.
“At the moment we have the contract in place for a national grid connection, and we will continue to monitor that. I’m 100 per sure we’ve developed a project to react to a decision when it’s made.”
The planned works would also see a converter station built at Upper Kergord, while an 8km underground cable would be laid between the station and Weisdale Voe.
The Viking wind farm, which was granted planning consent in April 2012, and the 17 turbine Beaw Field development in Yell need both a connection to the national grid to go ahead.
The capital outlay of the subsea cable development would be funded by parent company Scottish and Southern Energy Networks, with money recouped over time by customers who will pay to use the cable connection.
The cost of the project will only be made public once industry regulator Ofgem receive a full project assessment.
“The key factor is that it has to be economical for the UK customer – that’s our main aim,” Inglis said.
“There’s been recent projects in transmission that give you the scale of possibilities, such as our Caithness-Moray link. That was £1.2 billion, but you’ve got numerous substations, overhead lines, a deep sea converter.
“It gives you a scaleability of what’s happened in the past, but that was quite a large project.”
The consultation on the development has been extended to 11 November after the initial feedback session in Lerwick scheduled for 23 August was postponed due to flights being cancelled.
For more information on the consultation, visit here http://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/projects/shetland/
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