The latest announcement from OFGEM gives some lukewarm encouragement to SSE/Viking (Regulator approves SSEN’s contribution towards proposed interconnector; SN, 18 December 2019). This probably means that Viking will be better placed to bid in a future CfD auction. However, there seems to be a considerable degree of uncertainty in the detail of this announcement. The Needs Case for an inter-connector has yet to be resubmitted and there is no guarantee that it will be approved.
At the end of the day, if it goes ahead, it will be consumers who pay the bill for this, regardless of SSEN “paying” a contribution towards the interconnector. Without substantial subsidy, also paid for by consumers, it is difficult to see a good business case for developments on these islands being made.
As far as an energy solution for Shetland is concerned, relying on an interconnector and wind turbines is not a convincing means of ensuring security of supply. The £251 million would be better spent on a new power station in Shetland.
From evidence in the recent election campaigns many people in Shetland are wakening up to the reality of the drawbacks of large scale wind farms here and strong opposition is increasing.
The councillors and other locals who have been all too ready to support the industrialisation of much of Shetland in pursuit of financial gain will have a lot to answer for should SSE/Viking and others overcome the remaining hurdles and progress further with their projects.