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SIC - Free Tyre Check - 22 Nov 2019

Energy / Yell wind farm team confident over export link despite Ofgem hitch

The Energy Isles team. From left to right: Derek Jamieson (director, Energy Isles Limited), Guy Nicholson (Europe grid manager, Statkraft), Richard Mardon, (head of onshore wind, Statkraft UK), David Flood, (managing director, Statkraft UK), Olav Hetland (senior vice president, Statkraft), Charlotte Healey (project manager, Energy Isles Shetland Limited). Photo: Ben Mullay

THE TEAM behind plans for a 29-turbine wind farm in Yell say they still believe a solution can be found to export energy from large renewable developments in Shetland.

The confidence from Energy Isles comes despite regulator Ofgem confirming last week that it was unable to approve plans for a 600MW subsea interconnector between Shetland and Caithness following Viking Energy’s failure to win government support in the Contracts for Difference auction.

SSEN, which is behind plans for the £709 million cable, said it remained “very confident that the proposed 600MW link remains the most economic and efficient” solution for Shetland, while Viking Energy – which has consent for a 103-turbine farm in the central mainland – said it “remains committed” to progressing its project.

Energy regulator Ofgem said it welcomed revised proposals from SSEN for a transmission link, which hinges on the Viking Energy development getting the go-ahead.

Guy Nicholson, Europe grid manager for Energy Isles developer Statkraft, said in response to last week’s news that the team behind the proposed Yell wind farm will continue to liaise with “all parties”.

“Ofgem have asked SSEN to submit revised proposals for them to reconsider, and we will continue to work with all parties to deliver a transmission connection and facilitate a secure low cost electricity supply and decarbonisation of the Shetland economy,” he said.

Energy Isles Ltd director Derek Jamieson, meanwhile, said: “Our philosophy remains the same and we believe that a solution can be found that will enable Shetland to develop our growing renewable energy sector for the benefit of the community.”

The Energy Isles wind farm, which could have capacity of up to 200MW, has not bid for CfD support yet as it is still going through the consent process.

The team behind the plans said recently that it hopes to receive a decision from Shetland Islands Council planners in early to mid 2020, with the matter then progressing to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit for final approval.

The plans as they stand have so far received objections from the likes of Yell Community Council, Shetland Amenity Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage.