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Energy / Access track for electricity converter station on hold due to virus outbreak

The proposed converter station at Upper Kergord. Image: Mott MacDonald/Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks/Shetland Islands Council

THE PLANNED construction of an access track which would provide a route to the proposed electricity converter station at Upper Kergord has been put on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Local contractor Tulloch Developments was due to start the work this month, but it has now been put under review until it is “safe and acceptable” to carry out.

The 1.3 mile track was scheduled to be completed in July.

In a joint statement, Tulloch Developments and Viking Energy said: “In light of the current Coronavirus outbreak it has been decided jointly to postpone the start of the construction works on the Kergord access track to undertake a detailed review of the plans for the works.

“As this review takes place with all those involved we will continue to monitor the situation, and will update the local community as and when we consider the works can begin.”

The converter station at Upper Kergord, proposed by SSEN Transmission, forms part of plans for a 600MW interconnector which would allow large wind farms – such as Viking Energy – to export energy.

The station already has outline planning permission but its developer is now applying to discharge conditions relating to the development.

Plans show that in addition to generators, offices and other facilities, woodland is proposed around the boundary of the site.

The HVDC subsea cable would run from Caithness into Weisdale Voe before heading north to the station at Upper Kergord.

It would connect Shetland to the national grid for the first time.

As Lerwick Power Station gets set to close by 2025, it would also allow electricity to be imported into Shetland.

A marine licence application has now been submitted for the cable, but it still requires approval from energy regulator Ofgem.

Ofgem was previously minded to approve the cable, but Viking Energy’s failure to secure government subsidy last year meant that the regulator sought a revised proposal. The cable is dependent on the Viking Energy project getting the go-ahead.