GROUND investigations for the proposed 600MW transmission link connecting Shetland with the Scottish mainland are set to start next week despite the fact that Ofgem felt unable to approve plans to build such a cable.
The energy regulator has the final say in whether or not the £709 million interconnector represents value for money to UK electricity consumers.
Following Viking Energy’s failure to secure government subsidies in the latest Contract for Difference (CfD) auction, there are now questions over the financial viability of the project, prompting Ofgem to invite developers to submit revised plans to give “more certainty to consumers”.
Meanwhile, Scottish and Southern Energy Network (SSEN) continue with its work on securing planning permission for the cable and have now appointed
BAM Ritchies and local firm Frank L John (Shetland) to carrying out ground investigation work between Weisdale Voe and the site for the proposed converter station at Kergord.
SSEN’s project liaison manager Kelly Scott said the investigation works would help inform the final design of the proposed onshore cable route.
A team of 30 is said to be undertaking the works including drilling trial pits and around 30 bore holes.
Corporate affairs spokesman Greg Clarke said: “The ground investigations are essential if the project does proceed and in particular, if it is to maintain its programme to be complete by March 2024.
“Given Ofgem has maintained commitment to try and find a way forward and Viking has confirmed its continued commitment to the project, we still believe there is a way forward.
“Clearly we still need regulatory approval before construction of the link and associated infrastructure can take place.
“Please note we have agreed the ground investigations with Shetland Islands Council and all landowners, or their agents.”
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