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Energy / Proposals resubmitted for interconnector

Photo: SSEN Transmission

SCOTTISH and Southern Electricity Networks Transmission (SSEN Transmission) has submitted its updated needs case to energy regulator Ofgem for the proposed Shetland interconnector.

SSEN Transmission is still hoping to install a 600MW transmission link, saying it “remains the most economic, efficient and timely option”, despite the team behind the proposed Energy Isles wind farm in Yell pushing for a larger capacity.

The cable still remains conditional on the 457MW Viking Energy wind farm reaching a positive final investment decision and getting the go-ahead.

SSEN was invited to resubmit proposals after the 103-turbine wind farm failed to win government subsidy last year.

The proposal sees the cable running between Noss Head near Wick and Kergord in Shetland.

The link, which could import energy as well as export, is scheduled to be “energised and operational” by April 2024 if it gets the green light.

It comes as Lerwick Power Station is set to close in 2025.

SSEN Transmission highlights that the link will also “facilitate the supply of low carbon electricity to Shetland’s oil and gas industry at a time when the sector is actively exploring ways to decarbonise its electricity demand requirements”.

Rob McDonald, SSEN’s managing director for transmission, said: “We have submitted a robust investment case to Ofgem which makes it clear that a 600MW link remains the most economic, efficient and timely option to secure Shetland’s future energy needs.

“As well as providing a connection for Shetland’s renewables, the link will also help address Shetland’s security of supply needs as well as offering Shetland’s oil and gas sector a unique opportunity to decarbonise its operational electricity requirements, delivering a whole system approach to support the transition to net zero emissions.

“Whilst we have listened to calls to consider delaying investment to develop a bigger link, our analysis shows that a bigger link would not be economic or efficient and would create a delay of at least two years, jeopardising the potential of any transmission link to Shetland proceeding.

“We now look forward to working constructively with Ofgem, our contracted developers and other stakeholders to progress the transmission link in a timely manner.”

Viking Energy said it was a “positive step” and added that it hopes for a “timely” decision from Ofgem.

“Despite not securing a Contract for Difference in the UK Government’s auction for low carbon power, Viking Energy remains fully committed to building the wind farm and intends taking a final investment decision as soon as possible,” it said in a statement.

“Enabling work on the project has already begun to ensure that it can proceed without delay when a final investment decision is reached.”