Shetland subsea cable plan hits Ofgem snag

Government regulator Ofgem have said they are “unable to approve” plans to build a subsea electricity transmission cable between Shetland and the mainland, in a further blow to the Viking Energy windfarm development.

This comes only a month after Viking failed to win government backing in the latest round of Contract for Difference auctions.

In a statement released on Wednesday morning, Ofgem announced that the “award of these subsidies would have provided confidence that the wind farm is likely to progress, and protection for consumers from the risk of paying for an underutilised transmission link to the Shetland Isles.”

In March, Ofgem said that they were minded to approve the estimated £709 million link between Shetland and the mainland.

They have said they “would welcome revised proposals from SSEN including providing greater certainty on the future of the windfarms”.

This latest setback is also a blow to the proposed Energy Isles 29 turbine windfarm development in Yell, which is also reliant on a transmission cable between Shetland and the Scottish mainland going ahead.

More reaction in this Friday’s edition of The Shetland Times.


Add Your Comment
  • Ian Tinkler

    • October 23rd, 2019 9:35

    My goodness, sanity is taking over at last. Now, how about a bit of investment in tidal and hydrogen generation. The Sullom Voe four dual-fuel gas turbine generators could be updated and expanded to eight. That should easily supply power for immediate use and cut our carbon footprint in half. Let us see how the Green loonies ponder this one?

  • ian tinkler

    • October 23rd, 2019 17:55

    I have just crunched a few figures! The cost of the interconnector would pay for four Shetland power stations. Now one gas-fired would leave a cool £500,000 million for research and education. Rock on Viking Energy and goodbye.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • October 24th, 2019 8:23

    In Ian Tinkler’s mind the phrase “Green loonies” is meaningful. Can anyone else explain who his loonies are, or do they only exist in his imagination ?

    If the phrase is only meaningful to Ian it is difficulty to see how “sanity is taking over at last”.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • October 24th, 2019 12:22

    Just for the snowflakes! (
    plural noun: loonies
    a mad or silly persons.
    Very appropriate for the idiots who wasted £10 million SCT funds and now want to throw £710 million more at windfarm Shetland. (sorry Peter if not PC enough for your tender soul)

  • Peter Hamilton

    • October 25th, 2019 11:59

    Characterising those behind Viking Energy as silly, mad or idiotic is simplistic, inaccurate and unhelpful.

    Some, but certainly not all, of the backers and approvers were incorrectly motivated by honestly held environmental concerns. Tom Morton’s name springs to mind. Ian Tinkler’s phrase, “Green loonies”, does nothing, however, to capture the avarice that motivated some of the others who, vocally or secretly, also backed the scheme.

    Neither does Ian’s phrase address the false “development-at-all-costs” notion that the council must always be on a mission to find and back the next big thing. Their job should instead be to see things are fairly considered.

    Ian may be right to argue the inter-connector is unaffordable, that Shetland needs an intermediary gas-fired power station – possibly en-route to a publicly owned eco-grid – but he’s foolish to garble so important a message.

    An independent commission may be needed to look at how Shetland’s future energy needs can best be met. The council could have a role in calling for one. And Ian Tinkler can retain his self-stimulating role in calling others silly names at random for his own pleasure. As for “snowflake”, well bless his cotton socks. Would he could stick to his point.

  • Haydn Gear

    • October 26th, 2019 14:44

    Much discussion is currently taking place in Britain concerning the consequences of mental health (ill health) and great concern is being recorded about suicides, especially in young men. I have heard about people suffering mental troubles being consigned to “ loony bins”. I find the free use of such terminology repugnant and unworthy of people who like to promote themselves as educated and intelligent.
    Surely it is not beyond the capabilities of such people to use terminology which is not offensive but still manages to convey thoughts and opinions lucidly.
    In all seriousness, I wince when I read the word ‘ loonies’ in these columns. Would it not be possible for this to cease?

    • ian tinkler

      • October 28th, 2019 15:23

      I must agree with Haydn and Peter here. Using the term Loonie is perhaps grossly insulting to those with mental health issues. People with mental health problems are not scientifically ignorant idiots who jump headlong onto the “green bandwagon”.
      It does the mentally compromised a disservice linking them with the ignorant and self-serving. I have never done that but if all the proponents of the PR brigade and Viking Energy can do is criticise my use of English I feel my point is made. Green Lunatics is perhaps a too gentle term to express my total contempt for those in our present and past Councils and Charitable Trust who attempted to railroad VE onto Shetland folk.
      Rather than Green Lunatics, how about, ignorant, avaricious, self-serving, greedy fools. I could go on but the Big Girls Blouses of the PR brigade may be offended. That would be tough on Girly Swots.!!! Sorry for the windup folks, I do not suffer pretentious fools all that well.

  • David Spence

    • October 28th, 2019 11:27

    Side comment : I believe when Sullom Voe, was being planned, an arrangement was negotiated where SV could supply gas, via pipeline, to the power station here in Lerwick, at very little cost, thus the cost of power to the people of Shetland, becoming one, if not the only, cheapest source of energy for the consumer.

    However, the get out clause, the Hydro-Board, asked BP could the guarantee 100% supply? No surprise, BP said ‘ No. ‘. That being said, we, Shaetlanders’ were denied a cheaper cost of energy and a cost of living. I believe.

    Could this arrangement still be in the pipeline as an alternative to Viking Energy (if indeed Shetland itself would benefit from the power generated by VE?) in providing a cheap source of energy?

  • Haydn Gear

    • October 28th, 2019 17:56

    Well Ian, that was almost an apology laced with get – out clauses.!! Making references to the so called PR brigade and Big Girls’ Blouses does nothing to assuage people who deliver their opinions in reasonable, measured tones.To attack with great relish says a great deal more about the attacker than the attacked. One can very readily understand why so much intolerance in the world makes it an unsafe place.Being proud of such a weakness merely serves to compound the problem. With patience and a large slice of contrite thinking, things could repair and meaningful exchanges COULD take place. Roll on.

  • ian tinkler

    • October 29th, 2019 8:21

    David, Shetland already has gas turbines operating at Sullom Voe (Sullom Voe power station
    Since May 2014. The 100 MWe plant has four 25 MW General Electric Frame 5 gas turbines ). It may be more cost-effective to modernise and expand this plant at Sullom than build a gas pipe to Lerwick. Unless I am mistaken a connecting power line is cheaper and less environmentally damaging than a pipeline. If Shetland ever gets its renewable act together this plant would act as the backup power station until a non-fosil fuel plant was established. A tidal generation would be the obvious solution with hydrogen back up and storage used for transport and energy storage.

    • David Spence

      • October 30th, 2019 8:05

      Thank you Ian, for your comments.

      Correct me if I am wrong, but is there plans to have the new power station in Lerwick, built where Norscot the oild based company used to be? If this is the case, is the new power station going to be powered by gas
      directly coming from Sullom Voe?

  • Peter Hamilton

    • October 29th, 2019 14:48

    Haydn makes a worthwhile point. We shouldn’t be contributing in harmfully in ways that feed stigma around issues of mental health. People should not feel discouraged from seeking help that could be life saving.

    I have some sympathy with those at the Shetland Times who have to decide which of the comments offered here do not “observe normal standards of decency and tolerance”, but perhaps the style book needs updating.

    There is a related problem in which when we point out the problem this particular perpetrator gets double his satisfaction and then feels stimulated into issuing further offensive posts. This problem would be lessened were the Shetland Times to simply refuse to carry posts containing terms such as “loonie” and “lunatics”.

    I suspect the staff periodically consider such issues and wouldn’t be troubled by the prospect of being considered “Big Girls Blouses” (is misogyny really still thought funny not harmful?) or indeed “pretentious fools” were they to cut less slack. It is also possible to become desensitised, even to such annoyances as the distracting sound of a dentist’s excessive drill.

    The profit motive aside, I can’t see the subsea cable being preferable to Shetland becoming self sufficient through sustainable renewables.


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