20th February 2020
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SSE stresses ‘robust’ case for cable link

Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) has resubmitted what it calls a “robust” case for investing in the proposed 600MW transmission to the energy regulator, Ofgem.

It insists the link will enable new renewable projects to flourish by exporting “low carbon” electricity to the GB market.

It also argues unlocking Shetland’s renewables potential by providing the isles with access to the main GB grid will also lead to the supply of low carbon electricity to Shetland’s oil and gas industry – at a time when the sector is actively exploring ways to decarbonise its electricity demand requirements.

In March last year Ofgem stated it was minded to approve the investment, or needs case, for the cable – provided the Viking Energy windfarm secured subsidy through the Contract for Difference (CfD) process.

But when Viking was subsequently unsuccessful in CfD, the energy regulator published an update asking developers, as well as SSEN Transmission, to demonstrate the continued need for the proposed links.

Ofgem also asked SSEN Transmission to consider whether an alternative size of link, or alternative conditions for approval, should be proposed.

SSEN says its updated needs case shows the 600MW link remains “the most economic, efficient and timely option..”

In the absence of CfD for Viking, it is seeking conditional approval, subject to Viking reaching a positive decision on final investment.

SSEN argues the cable will help secure Shetland’s future electricity security of supply, with Lerwick Power Station  – Shetland’s main current power source – expected to cease full operations in 2025.

The link is scheduled to be operational by April 2024.

SSEN’s Rob McDonald said the organisation said: “We have submitted a robust investment case to Ofgem which makes it clear that a 600MW link remains the most economic, efficient  and timely option to secure Shetland’s future energy needs.

“As well as providing a connection for Shetland’s renewables, the link will also help address Shetland’s security of supply needs as well as offering Shetland’s oil and gas sector a unique opportunity to decarbonise its operational electricity requirements, delivering a whole system approach to support the transition to net zero emissions.

“Whilst we have listened to calls to consider delaying investment to develop a bigger link, our analysis shows that a bigger link would not be economic or efficient and would create a delay of at least two years, jeopardising the potential of any transmission link to Shetland proceeding.

“We now look forward to working constructively with Ofgem, our contracted developers and other stakeholders to progress the transmission link in a timely manner.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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