A new engine is being delivered for the Lerwick Power Station – even though it is only due to remain operational for another five years.
The multi-million pound investment in the old plant is being made by operator Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).
It says the move is necessary to complement “full duty operations” until the long-awaited 600MW subsea cable becomes operational.
The operator says it has been “working to identify the future security of supply solution for Shetland to allow Lerwick Power Station to move out of full duty operations around 2025”.
The engine is a 6MW Wartsila W12V32 unit weighing 97.5t, and is due to arrive at Dales Voe on Tuesday.
It will be lifted by a 650-tonne crane and placed into storage before making the two kilometre journey to Lerwick Power Station.
SSEN says this specific engine has been chosen for its high efficiency and “emissions abatement technology”.
It also can run flexibly to improve optimisation of the network.
SSEN is also in the final procurement process of buying an 8MW battery which it says will also enhance the islands’ security of supply in the short term. That particular project will be delivered in the first half of 2021.
Working with a specialist contractor, Mammoet UK Ltd, it will be brought to the isles on 8th October. There are not expected to be any road closures as the load is only 3.3m wide and will be moved outside of peak times to minimise disruption.
SSEN Embedded Generation Manager Darren Hitchin said: “To guarantee security of supply to the homes and businesses in Shetland that depend on us, we need to invest in Lerwick Power Station to support full duty operations of the station until Shetland is connected to the GB system.
“The delivery of the new engine is a complex operation, but we’re committed to minimising disruption as our specialist teams transport the engine to site. We’d like to thank the local community in advance for their patience.
“Looking ahead to our connection to the HVDC transmission link in 2025, we are currently reviewing options for an innovative and cost-effective backup solution to support security of supply and will be submitting analysis to Ofgem in the coming weeks for consideration.”