Ofgem ‘minded-to’ approve transmission connection for Viking project

SSEN have welcomed news that energy regulator Ofgem are now “minded-to” approve the 600mw subsea connection between Shetland and the mainland.

Ofgem will now open up an eight-week consultation period, beginning today, before making their final decision on the connection.

The company has said they would “particularly welcome responses from generators and local stakeholders on Shetland”.

Final approval of the link is also conditional on a “final investment decision” being made on the Viking wind farm project.

The energy regulator has said that they will approve the subsea cable if they are satisfied by the end of this year that the Viking wind farm project is likely to go ahead.

Ofgem announced in October 2019 that they were “unable to approve” the plans for the £709 million link after Viking was unsuccessful during September’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions.

At the time, the company said they would welcome revised proposals, however.

The response deadline for the consultation is Thursday 18th June 2020.

COMMENTS(30)

Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • April 23rd, 2020 10:57

    Not another consultation! Is Ofgem trying to wear down the opposition with consultation fatigue?

    Shetland and the UK need energy that’s cheaper, not dearer. Billions of pounds worth of gas from Shetland’s Laggan-Tormore/Shetland Gas Plant complex pass through Shetland for consumption, elsewhere. It is a monstrous scandal that not a single molecule of that is made available to Shetland homes and businesses.

    Responsibility lies firmly at the door of the SIC.

    In the interest of their renewable energy hobby horse, for years, they have done nothing to secure incredibly cheap gas supplies for local people and left no stone unturned in their lobbying for Viking Energy.

    Of course, cheap gas for power generation, homes and businesses would kill the chances of UK consumers paying £0.71 billion for a subsea transmission link to transport unreliable, expensive renewable energy the 500+ miles to SE England, where demand is located.

    And the result? The devastation of the Unesco Shetland Global Geopark, lauded for its hitherto pristine environment.

    REPLY
  • geoff leask

    • April 24th, 2020 1:56

    I’m a stakeholder – and I welcome the opportunity to be consulted. However I have no idea how I can add my contribution. Ryan can you help me out here and publish the link in the Shetland Times?

    REPLY
    • Frank Hay

      • April 26th, 2020 14:30

      mailto:NTIMailbox@ofgem.gov.uk

      REPLY
  • John Thomas

    • April 25th, 2020 15:37

    You are right that Viking has its issues and that consultation is often a fig leaf for bulldozing a project through.
    However, renewable energy is neither unreliable nor expensive. Quite the opposite “Electricity generated by onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies will in the next year be consistently cheaper than from any fossil fuel source, a report showed on Wednesday, boosting the case for energy sources that don’t emit carbon.”
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-renewables-costs/solar-onshore-wind-costs-set-to-fall-below-new-fossil-fuel-energy-report-idUKKCN1SZ1MD
    It is not unreliable if stored. This technology exists. If we simply used the electricity to generate hydrogen, and store it just like the old city gas, we can run all our power needs through hydrogen fuel cells. Simple, cheap and clean. Or we could let global heating destroy our children’s future because nobody wants to see a big windmill near their property. I’m old enough not to care.

    REPLY
    • John Tulloch

      • April 25th, 2020 19:42

      “O Oysters, come and walk with us!’
      The Walrus did beseech.
      A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
      Along the briny beach:
      We cannot do with more than four,
      To give a hand to each.’

      “The eldest Oyster looked at him,
      But never a word he said:
      The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
      And shook his heavy head —
      Meaning to say he did not choose
      To leave the oyster-bed.”

      (From: The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll)

      The sun’s shining here and like the old oyster, I can’t be bothered, either, John.

      Have a nice evening, do.

      REPLY
      • John Thomas

        • April 27th, 2020 14:37

        Love it, thanks JT 🙂

    • ian Tinkler

      • April 25th, 2020 19:42

      No real need for fuel cells. Hydrogen was 50% of coal gas, can be stored in gasometers and burnt in gas fires and used to power piston engines, gas turbines and most conventional heating systems. A hell of a lot cleaner than burning wood chip. Now forget the windfarms, obsolete technology, use tidal generation and mini modular nuclear(thorium). That way we will have a living planet worth saving, not a mass of concrete, steel and fibreglass.

      REPLY
    • ali Inkster

      • April 25th, 2020 22:47

      At 60 dollars a barrel so called renewables will need to reduce costs by a huge margin to compete with oil. At the current oil price of less that 30 dollars a barrel wind, tidal and solar no hope.

      REPLY
      • John Thomas

        • April 27th, 2020 15:14

        Renewable energy is not produced in barrels. Where did you hear that?

        We continue to burn oil and gas because the infrastructure is there and the investment has been made. But when it comes to investing in new electricity generation, onshore wind is the cheapest. Also – I am not sure how such a low price is beneficial to the oil industry what with their high fixed costs?

        As a patriotic Brit I am all for us standing on our own two feet and generating cheap and reliable energy. Shetland aside, as a nation we are net importers of oil and gas. Why rely on the likes of Russia or our Middle Eastern friends when we can spend that money at home and have jobs for Brits producing clean and plentiful energy?

        No hope eh? Doesn’t sound like it to me… “Two offshore wind schemes won contracts at record-lows of £57.50 per megawatt hour (MWh). This puts them among the cheapest new sources of electricity generation in the UK, joining onshore wind and solar, with all three cheaper than new gas, according to government projections.”
        https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-auction-offshore-wind-cheaper-than-new-gas
        Let’s stop living in the 80s. Let’s have clean, reliable British energy instead.

  • Haydn Gear

    • April 28th, 2020 13:41

    I tend to lean in the direction indicated by John Thomas. For reasons of cheapness , safety and reliability I can’t see why wind and tidal forces should not be the primary options for energy generation. Winds are unlikely to stop blowing and sea tides are unlikely to dry up , so how can they not be major considerations? Nuclear power is also in the running provided that the associated risks can be accepted. No matter what the no doubt well intended may suggest, there ARE risks which do not raise their ugly heads with wind and water. Reliable , sustainable , and non polluting. What more could one ask for in this struggling , changed 🌎 world we occupy for a short time. ?

    REPLY
    • Ian Tinkler

      • April 28th, 2020 14:42

      Alkaline concrete on acid peat beds is highly polluting, Haydn and VE will literally be pouring many, many thousands of tons of the stuff. Concrete manufacture itself is one of the major CO2 polluters of the atmosphere. (a cubic yard of concrete is responsible for emitting about 400 lbs of CO2 in manufacture alone, now add transport and peat degradation to that).
      Now Thorium nuclear is clean, no long half-life isotopes produced and no danger of meltdown.

      REPLY
    • Frank Hay

      • April 28th, 2020 20:04

      People need to look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk11vI-7czE
      Renewables come with issues as well and are not always as green as they are portrayed.
      They are also neither cheap or reliable. Back up will also be required for when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind isn’t suitable at more expense. More renewables will inevitably contribute to increased fuel poverty.

      REPLY
  • Alastair Ball

    • April 29th, 2020 17:15

    Michael Moore – Planet of the Humans – a documentary on the renewable energy scam that the left want banned – who would have thought !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk11vI-7czE&t=3643s

    REPLY
  • David Spence

    • April 29th, 2020 20:42

    The more you look into the problem of energy supply against saving the environment, the more contradictory conclusion one gains. Wind and Solar maybe cleaner, but how much land and natural habitat being destroyed (not taking into consideration extra land required for farming and food production) would be required to power a city of several million…….and this is just 1 city???? What energy source would be required also if there are days of no sun or no wind. What backup technology would be in place, and would this also be clean energy?

    It seems ironically disturbing that cleaner energy through wind and solar, would also have a negative impact on the environment if you take into consideration the polluting processes involved in the manufacturing of such devices. as well as the huge amount of land required , which would also be expanding as the population grows.

    I would assess cleaner energy via wind and solar would have a larger impact on the natural eco-systems and the environment and would still be reliant on fossil fuels.

    As far as I can see, disturbing as it may be, the only source for future energy demand is to go nuclear.

    REPLY
  • Haydn Gear

    • April 30th, 2020 13:46

    Accidents happen. They have happened, they are happening and the probability is that they will continue to happen. That, of course, includes in the nuclear arena. But, in spite of the light of experience, there are those who are prepared to plough on towards what could become further disasters. It would seem that nothing has been learned from Three mile island , Chernobyl and Fukushima. They were all claimed to be “safe” but due to unforeseeable events that proved to be ill founded poppycock
    In spite of such warnings which some misguided people choose to ignore shall we move unswervingly towards a state of being ( or ceasing to be ) which may make the current world pandemic appear to be a trifling event.? Happy days full of promise.
    And no , I am not a pessimist ; I’m a wary realist. Better than a blinkered optimist.

    REPLY
  • David Spence

    • May 2nd, 2020 12:52

    Nuclear Energy does have its dangerous pitfalls, but we are already using this technology to generate electricity. I believe 20% of our electricity is produced by nuclear power? In France I believe this to be much higher?

    Although it may be difficult to assess the impact of solar or wind generators on the environment on a large scale, it would have to be balanced between the use of such technology to this of the environmental and eco-systems which maybe affected.

    I do not know how much land would be required to provide electricity to a city of several million, but I would hazard a guess it would be quite considerable? This use would also have to compete with farming and agriculture not to mention living space for housing etc etc.

    There is off-shore wind generation, but how much sea would be required and how far
    from the shore would these wind turbines be? I suspect it would be quite close? Will our seashores be lined up with thousands of wind turbines?

    I would also suspect the cost of such a scenario would be very high in adoption and maintenance.

    REPLY
  • David Spence

    • May 2nd, 2020 20:41

    lol Hayden. Disturbing as it may be, I do not think we will have much option but to go nuclear. If it were a case of saving the environment and eco-systems, one may not have any choice?

    We are already using this technology to produce electricity, and if it is the case of minimizing our impact on the environment and eco-systems, then nuclear maybe the only way?

    Cleaner energy may be, morally, more suited, but one must also take into consideration the impact on the environment and eco-systems and how this may change towards a negative once we realize the full influence of this compared to the potential benefits?

    I cannot give any answers to what a large scale wind or solar scheme would be to power several millions homes, but I would suspect it would be considerably large in land area?

    One could use the same land for agriculture and farming and possibly housing?

    Shetland is suited for wind generating power schemes, but what would be the benefits to this of tourism, bird populations and property values, not to mention the visual impact of those people living near to such schemes and the consistent vibrating noise.

    REPLY
  • Haydn Gear

    • May 4th, 2020 11:36

    David , I understand where you are coming from in respect of the use(or misuse) of land according to which view one may take. But, there are many oil rigs dotted about the seas of the planet so why should it not be possible to have wind farms too ? No ugly structures to upset some people, ( though I actually like them ) and no land vibration either
    Agriculture, farming and housing would not be adversely affected. Bird populations would be safe and tourists would be able to concentrate on spending their money which, after all, is the main reason for encouraging them to visit Shetland!! By the way,I have stood close to wind fed generators of the type we are discussing and never felt vibrations —- just the pleasant swishing sound of the rotating blades. Not too different from the soothing sounds of the sea.

    REPLY
  • Ian Tinkler

    • May 4th, 2020 17:51

    Haydn, You live in Crickhowell, Wales, nowhere near any large windfarms. The Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons on your doorstep. Just how close is your home to the “the pleasant swishing sound of the rotating blades??.” I really doubt if you can even see a 100-meter turbine from your home. On Shetland people would be living under them, they would be about 150 meters high on high hills 250 meters or so plus above our heads!!! The plan is for over 150.

    REPLY
  • Haydn Gear

    • May 5th, 2020 13:13

    Well, you’re not far wrong Ian but wrong nevertheless.For starters, I do not live in Crickhowell which is in Powys. I live in Llanfoist close to Abergavenny, Mon. The wind farm I referred to is in Ferndale in the Rhondda Valley a mere 30 or so miles away.
    I visit relations there frequently and they are not in the least bit bothered by the farm on their doorstep, so to speak. In fact, they like it.!! How about that ?
    Another smaller series of wind turbines is even closer to me and they are sited near Ebbw Vale on The Tops as we in the lower valley area call them. From close first hand experience I still maintain that the swishing sound of the blades is pleasant and certainly not as fierce and noisy as any of the many gale force winds on Shetland.

    REPLY
  • Haydn Gear

    • May 5th, 2020 13:34

    One further point Ian which I previously meant to make. I’m wondering where the assertion came from that vibrations can be felt from wind driven turbines. Has anyone on Shetland actually stood near one? I definitely have NEVER felt any such vibrations. I have certainly heard and felt them when winter winds are howling.
    Whenever I have been to Shetland it has always seemed to me that the locals are a hardy bunch of people. Maybe I am mistaken and it could be that they are nesh.
    Or does that apply just to those who are incomers from other places like England for example? Where do you hale from Ian? Just wondering !

    REPLY
  • Ian Tinkler

    • May 5th, 2020 17:44

    “Rhondda Valley a mere 30 or so miles away.” Haydn, we will be living under these things, many of us much less than a mile away from more than one. 150 meters high, just a few hundred meters away. 24/7, working, sleeping and hearing every waking hour of the day, every day for the next 20 years plus.
    Now, you may have heard a gentle swish , swish, just listen to that in a force 5,6,7,8 or nine wind! It is closer to a helicopter rotor in sound, close up, also in volume! Those wind speeds are the norm here for most of the year.
    Llanfoist is just a walk from Crickhowell, I walk that distance most days!!! (6 miles)!! As you asked, for what it is worth, I have lived in Shetland 30 years now, longer than anywhere else. Just the relevance of that is a bit beyond me but it seems you wish to know!!

    REPLY
  • Haydn Gear

    • May 6th, 2020 12:54

    Ian, since I don’t live in Crug Hywel , a walk from where I do live ( Llanfoist ) and back would be 12 miles. In my marathon running days that would have been a decent evening run but those days have gone. A short walk of 6 miles would be easier now.

    If an offshore wind farm sprang up as I previously suggested as opposed to a land based one, Shetland folk would have no cause or excuse for concern. And since high winds are the norm, as you said, what a waste it would be to not use them to send turbine blades into a spin producing cheap electricity.
    I regularly see and hear Chinooks flying over my property en route to deliver Army personnel to the training grounds in the Beacons.To compare their noise to that of wind farms is ludicrous. Perhaps the anti wind farm brigade should get some first hand knowledge.
    Ian, you did a Trump special and answered a query I did not make. I did not ask you how long you’ve lived on Shetland. My question was where do you hail from?

    REPLY
  • Ian Tinkler

    • May 7th, 2020 10:14

    Haydn, I wrote rotor noise, not Chinook engine noise. Do not put words in my mouth. Now close up in a gale the continuous noise compares to engine noise fo a jet engine, I believe Chinooks are turbojet-powered. Now your 8 Ferndale turbines are tiny compared to the Shetland proposed 150-meter monsters. Less than half the rotor spread and about one-twentieth the number, not 30 miles away but on top of us..

    REPLY
  • John Tulloch

    • May 7th, 2020 11:38

    Isn’t it the case that so-called “infrasound”, noise at frequencies too low to be heard by humans, is what reportedly causes stress and illness in humans and other animals? The sort of thing they use in movies to create feelings of unease, etc. You can often feel it but not hear it.

    REPLY
  • Ian Tinkler

    • May 7th, 2020 15:40

    Personally, it is not the sound/noise that particularly concerns me but the complete destruction of a unique landscape and rare ecosystem. The peat hills of Shetland are as rare special as the Amazon rain forest. Hectare for hectare the peat stores more carbon than a rainforest, tens of thousands of tons of concrete a hundred miles or so of new roads all over the high hill! Then several dozen hectares of quarrying and thousands of tons of broken rock all taken from a very unique landscape. The breeding ground of the very rarest of birds, animals and SSSIs desecrated all to make a very few people richer. Seven hundred and fifty-odd million Pounds on copper and plastic cable alone. The stuff of real nightmares!!!

    REPLY
  • Haydn Gear

    • May 7th, 2020 19:45

    John, as I understand it, the subject of infrasound is being kicked around without any definite outcome being achieved. There are people in the USA who are making a big deal over what they claim to be damaging effects. But no reliable proof has been found.
    In Germany the story is completely different and more and more wind farms are springing up. ( they call them wind parks). In parallel to that , nuclear power is being phased out. What do the Germans know that we don’t. The news won’t please some advocates on Shetland who are married to the idea that nuclear power is the only way forward. The Germans have dealt much more efficiently with Cov-19 than we have. Maybe we can learn from them in regard to developing renewables too.
    No need for turbines on land. Stick them offshore. Problem solved.
    As I’ve said before, all the negatives can be resolved at a stroke.

    REPLY
  • Haydn Gear

    • May 8th, 2020 12:42

    Ian. It has finally become clear that you intend sticking to being a prophet of doom and gloom. I’m almost weary of saying OFF SHORE !!! That’s where wind farms and their iiritating (???) whirlybird blades can be erected, not on Shetland’s peat lands where extensive damage could be caused…It would be no more of a problem than erecting oil rigs way out to sea.
    Why on earth do you needlessly keep banging on about eco systems , birds,rain forests, broken rocks etc ? Plans to build turbine towers on your croft might not appeal to you or anyone else for that matter, so why not concentrate on following the oil rig example —-OFF SHORE !!!
    Since you’ve now said that the sound/ noise factor does not particularly
    concern you, everything should now be tickety – boo for you!!
    By the way, where do you hail from? Don’t be shy or ashamed and stop being so secretive.; this is Britain not North Korea !!

    REPLY

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