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Energy / SSE to submit analysis on interconnector back-up solution to Ofgem in coming weeks

It comes after a transmission link in the Western Isles failed – with a replacement cable needing to be installed

Photo: SSEN Transmission

THE COMPANY overseeing the supply of electricity in the north of Scotland says it is still reviewing options for a back-up solution once a transmission link connects Shetland to the national grid.

A spokesperson for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution said analysis would be submitted to energy regulator Ofgem in the coming weeks before formal submission next year.

“We have been working to identify the future security of supply solution for Shetland to allow Lerwick Power Station to move out of full duty operations around 2025,” they said.

The representative said SSEN Distribution is reviewing options for a “innovative and cost-effective back-up solution”.

The company was speaking after being questioned about the security of the future Shetland transmission link following news that a major fault was identified on the 33,000-volt subsea electricity distribution cable that connects the islands of Lewis and Harris in the west of Scotland to the mainland via Skye.

SSEN Distribution conceded on Thursday that the entire 32km cable will have to be replaced due to the depth of where the fault is. As a result of the fault, there will be restrictions to electricity generation export.

There is no ongoing impact to the supply of electricity to homes and businesses on Lewis and Harris as a result of the fault after initial widespread power cuts, the company said, with a power station remaining in full operation for the duration of the problem alongside on-island renewable generation.

Before Shetland is connected to the national grid through an interconnector, which will allow the import and export of energy, Shetland will continue to be served mainly by Lerwick Power Station.

SSE Distribution said a new engine recently being installed at the facility “underlines our commitment to ensuring the continued security of supply for our customers until the 600MW HVDC transmission link is operational”.

“As the distribution network operator responsible for ensuring a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity to Shetland, well-established contingency measures are in place to ensure homes and businesses receive the power they need,” the spokesperson added.