Power company on track with tendering process

The company that runs the power distribution network in the north of Scotland will be seeking bids in the spring to provide Shetland’s power supply after Lerwick Power Station comes to the end of its operational life.

A year ago, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) received over 300 responses to a major consultation with the public, stakeholders and the supply chain on the structure of an innovative procurement process.

This process came about after energy regulator Ofgem ordered SHEPD to widen the scope of its tendering process in the hope of identifying the most cost effective solution for the future of the islands’ network.

A pre-qualification process was completed during the summer and autumn of 2015 through which potential suppliers were invited to come forward. The process of preparing the technical information upon which detailed bids will be based has been extended to take account of the level of interest received and the range of technologies potentially involved.

According to SHEPD, this work is now well advanced and on course to be completed by the end of April 2016.

A new project manager, Dan Pearson, recently joined the SHEPD team delivering the competitive process. Mr Pearson previously led the development of the Meygen tidal generation project in Caithness.

Mr Pearson said: “A lot of work has already gone in to the preparation of what is a new process for Shetland to reflect the unique circumstances of the island network.
“The process is unavoidably complex in order to make it as open as possible to all technologies, so that the most economic overall solution can be identified. We are making good progress and will be working hard with Ofgem over the coming months to ensure that the tender documents establish a strong foundation for the future of Shetland’s electricity supply.

“We have been very pleased with the level of engagement we have had to date from the supply chain and from the community. I would like to thank all concerned for their interest and their patience while our team prepares the crucial next stage.”


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • January 24th, 2016 9:06

    Once again, outside interference in Shetland’s business.

    I simply can’t wait to see what Heath-Robinson schemes are proposed in this “consultation” – doubtless, we’ll be importing waste and chicken guano “fae aa airts”, plus “windy spells” and batteries!

    Yet SSE has already proposed a perfectly sensible solution of a gas-fired power station, powered by gas from Total’s Sullom Gas Plant which was to have been supplied by pipeline to the new power station at Rova Head.

    Due to London-based Ofgem’s interference there will only be a pipeline if the Viking Energy project is dropped.

    With a suitably-sized pipeline, a gas distribution plant could be also be installed to supply gas direct to homes and buildings in Lerwick at a considerably cheaper price than the existing district heating system.

    The distribution plant would also produce bulk supply and bottled gas for delivery throughout Shetland at the same price per unit of heat as the direct supply in Lerwick.

    Thus people and businesses in remoter places inaccessible to direct gas supply would not be disadvantaged.

    This is the kind of decision that would be very straightforward for an autonomous Shetland government whose primary interests would be the prosperity of Shetland and reducing the shocking levels of fuel poverty.

  • Johan Adamson

    • January 25th, 2016 8:56

    ‘Due to London-based Ofgem’s interference there will only be a pipeline if the Viking Energy project is dropped.’ Please explain?

    • John Tulloch

      • January 25th, 2016 13:22

      Certainly, Johan.

      Given that, if Viking Energy is installed, there will be a submarine cable to Mainland UK then, irrespective of whether it is or isn’t a windy day, there will be no loss of supply to Shetland unless the cable or associated equipment fails, which should happen only rarely.

      The new power station will therefore be limited to a standby role and, theoretically, only ever be required to run on rare occasions, making the cost of a gas pipeline difficult to justify from that narrow perspective.

      As I understand it from previous reports, Ofgem decreed that the gas pipeline would only be authorised if VE is dropped and that an oil-based fuel e.g. marine diesel, would be used to power it, thus saving UK consumers from paying for the cost of installing the gas pipeline.

      That doesn’t mean we can’t have a gas pipeline, it just means the power station project won’t pay any contribution towards it.

      As I say, yet more outside interference in Shetland’s affairs, to the detriment of local residents.

      • Robert Sim

        • January 26th, 2016 11:53

        You can overdo the “interefence” line, John. I happened to notice that the WS website carries a comment (from your twitterfeed) that Shetland schools could soon be forced to teach Gaelic “with no additional budget” – what is your source for that assertion?

      • Ali Inkster

        • January 26th, 2016 18:59

        If all 2569 schools are requested to teach gaelic where are the teachers going to come from, there probably not enough native speakers to a standard that would be acceptable for teaching.

      • Robert Sim

        • January 27th, 2016 5:02

        Thanks, Ali. Did you read to the end of the article? If you do and supplement that with some searching on the Scottish Government website, you will find that, under the proposals of the Education (Scotland) Bill 2015, the trigger for Gaelic-Medium Primary Education – i.e. where the whole school uses Gaelic all the time (a very different thing from the primary teacher teaching the class some Gaelic) – to be provided from scratch in a local-authority area is demand from parents; and that the authority can decide whether such demand would amount to the need actually to provide GMPE. With that in mind, do you think that there would ever realistically be any demand from Shetland parents to have GMPE provided? And, if there was, do you think it would be at such a level that the SIC would accede to that demand and convert a school to GMPE? The answer to both must, in the real world, surely be no.

        So, facts, checking the facts and getting things into perspective are all important. WS might be better employed promoting the facts about the way the national curriculum body is supporting and promoting the language of Shetland: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/learningandteaching/curriculumareas/languages/scotslanguage/supportmaterials/genericresource_tcm4868477.asp

      • John Tulloch

        • January 28th, 2016 13:00

        Robert Sim,

        I’m very pleased that from all Wir Shetland’s statements about injustices heaped on Shetland by Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels – education underfunding, fisheries mismanagement, interference in our energy supply arrangements, etc. – this item is the worst complaint you and the SNP can muster against us – and you’re wrong in any case!

        The quote you quibble stated:

        “We could now be forced to offer Gaelic in our schools with no additional budget.”

        We did not say we would be forced to introduce “Gaelic Medium Primary Education”, we said “..forced to OFFER Gaelic..etc.”

        So why don’t you stop timewasting and get on to contributing something to this discussion of the article which was about our future energy suppy arrangements?

        Don’t you want to criticise London-based Ofgem? Or is it that you can’t bring yourself to support them, even to attack Wir Shetland?

      • Robert Sim

        • January 28th, 2016 14:41

        No, John – the SIC would NOT be forced to offer Gaelic. It would be forced to CONSIDER offering Gaelic IF there was sufficient parental demand -and it could choose not to.

        I take your point about being off-topic – but I couldn’t see anywhere else to make my point, which was really about WS getting facts right before making a public statement.

        Anyway, on energy – and all the other topics – we get your point. I am wondering though what practical means WS intends to employ to achieve its goal? That’s surely the key thing? This is just a newspaper forum, remember. Most folk probably glance at it, at best. Oh and I am flattered but I am not an SNP representative.

      • Ali Inkster

        • January 28th, 2016 16:55

        I’ve spoken to a couple of folk up here (not locals or even taxpayers) that want their bairns taught gaelic Robert. You can take it from me that the conversation did not go the way they wanted it to.

      • John Tulloch

        • January 28th, 2016 22:20

        @Robert Sim, still timewasting, I’m saddened to see.

        From the P&J article posted above by Ali (which you purport to have read):

        “The Scottish Government said,

        ‘This (Gaelic provision) will not be expected or imposed on any area without good evidence of parental demand.'”

        Ergo, given “good evidence of parental demand”, Shetland Islands Council “…COULD be forced to offer Gaelic..etc.” Our statement is accurate.

        Robert, Wir Shetland didn’t make this up, the Scottish Government said it to the Press and Journal!

        Don’t blame us for the SNP Scottish Government’s inaccurate media statements.

      • Robert Sim

        • January 29th, 2016 14:53

        John Tulloch – you seem determined to restrict your knowledge of subjects where you could do some research to the limited perspective of a newspaper report. Read the provisions of the Bill to which I earlier referred. That makes it clear that authorities would have the last word on Gaelic provision. But in any case in reality there is never going to be that level of parental demand in Shetland. A reality-checker would have come in handy before putting that tweet on your website. Or just in general.

      • John Tulloch

        • January 29th, 2016 17:28

        @Robert Sim,

        Did I say the P&J report was the the full extent of our research? No, i didn’t. From the Holyrood website:

        “What the Bill seeks to do
        The Scottish Government has published a Policy Memorandum to accompany the Bill. According to the Policy Memorandum, the Bill specifically aims to:

        Place a duty on education authorities both to assess the need for Gaelic medium primary education following a parental request and to actively promote and support Gaelic medium education (GME) and Gaelic learner education;”

        Robert, it says “the Bill specifically aims to: Place a duty on education authorities to …… actively promote and support Gaelic medium education (GME);”

        SIC will not be able to “actively promote and support GME” by refusing parents’s requests for it, will they?


        So there you have it, split infinitive and all!

      • iantinkler

        • January 29th, 2016 21:42

        Robert Sim, what is spent on Gaelic? £28.48m, in a single year.. £6.53m – Education, £4m – School infrastructure projects, £285,000 – Road signs. Do you think this is money well spent Robert. Pity we cannot keep are rural schools open.
        Scottish government figures reference: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34126203

    • Johan Adamson

      • January 26th, 2016 8:54

      It would seem like gas is the way to go, even the government think so. Stable and plentiful, and possibly cheap?

  • John N Hunter

    • January 25th, 2016 17:14

    I was at one of the consultation meetings for the new Lerwick power station a couple of years ago, before OFGEM looked at the plans. A SSE official made it clear to me that as the route for the pipeline proposed by SSE ran through the area earmarked for Viking windmills in the Kaimes the windfarm would not go ahead if that option was chosen. I got the impression at that time they were expecting the power station to be given the go ahead long before any decision on Viking.

  • Henry Condy

    • January 29th, 2016 10:21

    Would you please when naming companies in an italic form , eg Ofgem, Bot, please put them in with the full name of the companies typed next to them , thus giving an understanding to the reader, thank you


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