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Ofgem gives a green light for Orkney power link

Words: Roger Milne
Orkney / iStock

Energy regulator Ofgem has granted power network company SSEN Transmission the go-ahead to its plan for a 220-megawatt transmission link from the Orkney Islands to the Scottish mainland in Caithness.

The project, estimated to cost around £260 million, would enable new wind farms and potentially new tidal power schemes around Orkney to send electricity to the rest of Great Britain.

As well as the cable link the proposals would require new sub-stations, one at Finstown on Orkney, and another on the mainland to the west of the existing sub-station at Dounreay.

However, the approval is conditional on a total of at least 135 megawatts of new wind farm projects on Orkney either being awarded a so-called Contract for Difference or being judged likely to be developed by December 2021 with a relevant grid connection agreement and planning permission.

SSEN Transmission is unhappy at the conditions specified by the regulator and has warned that meeting them could cause delay to the scheme

Rob McDonald, managing director of SSEN Transmission, said: “Whilst we are clearly disappointed with the decision, our commitment to work with Orkney developers and other stakeholders to unlock Orkney’s vast renewable potential has not changed.

“With both the UK and Scottish Government committed to net zero emissions, we firmly believe Orkney and Scotland’s other two major island groups will have a key role to play in the fight to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

“We now look forward to working with developers and other stakeholders on Orkney to collectively explore the best way forward to unlock Orkney’s renewable potential.”

Image credit | iStock