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Letters / Call for independent inquiry into Shetland’s energy needs

With the announcements this week that SSE/Viking Energy and Statkraft/Energy Isles continue to progress their plans to spear their oversize wind turbines into Shetland’s landscape, Sustainable Shetland has a few observations to make, which may be of interest to Ofgem.

SSEN seem fixated that a cable to the mainland would represent best value for consumers but we are not convinced that this is the case. There is the matter that, even with the £251million SSE cable contribution, there still remains £458million of the estimated cost to be funded by consumers.

The SSEN demands for a cable is obviously influenced by their interest in “getting Viking done” as quickly as possible.

It is not clear where the favoured 600MW interconnector leaves Statkraft/Energy Isles whose project looks likely to be left without sufficient capacity on the interconnector unless Peel Energy abandons its Beaw Field and Mossy Hill windfarm proposals.

We responded to the previous Ofgem consultation on the original Needs Case and will, if given the opportunity, respond to this as well.

There is clearly an issue with the capabilities of the grid on the mainland to cope with increased demand for capacity from wind farms given the recent publicity about excessive constraint payments. A cable to Caithness from Shetland may create yet more capacity problems further south.

There are also problems on the recently installed Western Link inter-connector, currently out of service, which does not inspire confidence in such links.

A secure and reliable energy supply should be a necessity for Shetland.

There is actually a need for a fully independent investigation into just what would be the best solution to the energy needs of Shetland into the future. In the revised SSEN Needs Case we rather suspect that it is the needs of SSE shareholders that are paramount, rather than the needs of Shetland residents.

As SSE moves towards making a final investment decision we hope that the lack of CfD or any other form of subsidy will result in the dreadful Viking Energy project being not economically viable.

Frank Hay
Sustainable Shetland

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