Decision deferred on 23km pylon plans to give all SIC members their say

All councillors will be able to have their say on proposals for a 23km pylon network, after the planning committee deferred its decision.

SSEN Transmission’s proposals for overhead lines between Kergord and Gremista will now go before the full council for a response on 28th September.

The twin cables will connect the Mossy Hill windfarm and the Gremista grid supply point with the Kergord converter station, forming a key part in SSEN’s “Shetland Renewable Connections Project”.

Eventually, the project will allow power generated by windfarms, including Viking Energy, to be transferred to the UK mainland via a 260km subsea cable.

The SIC’s planning officers had recommended members support the application, highlighting the economic benefits and a “major advance” in cutting carbon emissions.

At Monday’s planning committee, however, vice chairman Davie Sandison asked for it to be referred to the full council for deliberation.

He said that would allow “all councillors in their entirety to have their say on the consultation response”.

Development team leader James Holden said the applicants and the Scottish government’s Energy Consents Unit indicated they would be prepared to accept the extended deadline.

If approved, the lines would mainly follow the A970 including a short “cable dip”, or underground section, at Tingwall. Underground lines would also be used to connect Mossy Hill windfarm to one of the Gremista GSP connections.

Six “sealing end compounds” would be needed at sections of the route where the cable moves from over to under ground.

Around 1km of permanent access tracks would also be built, mainly involving upgrades to existing routes.

Work is scheduled to begin next year, taking place from 7am-7pm Monday-Saturday and from 8am-6pm on Sundays. It is due to be completed in 2025.

SSEN said the transmission circuit would play a “critical role” in securing Shetland’s future security of supply by connecting the isles to the UK energy system for the first time.

The company said this would enable homes and businesses to be supplied, even at times when local generation does not meet demand.

“We look forward to the outcome of our planning application and remain committed to working closely with Shetland Islands Council, the local community and wider stakeholders to deliver this critical infrastructure to support and secure Shetland’s future energy needs,” it added.


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