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Climate / Connecting Shetland to the national grid costs £100 million

A visualisation of the Gremista Grid Supply Point building, which is seen in dark colours near the middle of the picture at the bottom of the hill.

ELECTRICITY infrastructure company SSEN Distribution has revealed that connecting Shetland’s electricity network to the national grid represents an investment of almost £100 million.

Ground investigations for the project are already underway.

It involves the construction of a grid supply point (GSP) at Gremista – which recently received planning permission – and a 22 kilometre long overhead and underground link to the new Kergord substation where it will connect to the subsea cable, which is under construction.

SSEN Distribution said the £99.8m investment will boost the reliability of electricity supplies for homes and business as well as supporting the country’s drive to net zero, with a dramatic drop in carbon emissions.

Electricity in Shetland is currently distributed on Shetland a 33kV distribution network with the power derived from a mixture of sources – Lerwick Power Station (50 per cent of total), Sullom Voe (30 power station) and renewables (20 per cent).

According to SEPA, Lerwick Power Station emitted 76,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2018, and the Sullom Voe power station 206,000 tonnes.

That will change once the Viking Energy wind farm and the local network is connected to the national grid, expected to be in late 2024.

At that point Lerwick Power Station will move over to ‘standby’ mode until 2035 and will be used to supply power in the short-term during outages.

Welcoming the recent planning consent SSEN Distribution’s project director Mark Kelly said the grid supply point is central to Shetland being part of the GB electricity network.

The company’s customer operations manager mark Rough added: “This £99.8m investment demonstrates our commitment to our customers on Shetland, connecting to the main GB electricity network for the first time, helping to improve the reliability of day-to-day power supplies and lowering Shetland’s emissions in its transition to net zero.”

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