The Scottish government has approved plans to construct a controversial 23km cabling route between Kergord and Gremista.
SSEN Transmission had applied for permission to build overhead power lines – some of which could be 17m tall – between the two sites.
The SIC had stopped short of opposing the application last year, which would have triggered a public inquiry, but asked the Energy Consents Unit (ECU) to take into consideration concerns from residents in Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale.
Councillor Moraig Lyall had said they were going to be left living in a “forest of poles”.
But the ECU approved the plans today (Thursday), saying it will “not create any unacceptable effects” on the landscape and environment.
Mrs Lyall responded to the news by saying she was “gutted on behalf of the local community but not totally surprised”.
There had been calls for SSEN to bury the cables instead, but the energy giant said that would increase the costs to around £50 million.
The cabling work forms a key part of SSEN’s “Shetland Renewables Connections Project” linking the Kergord converter station, where the 600MW interconnector comes ashore, with the Gremista grid supply point.
Once completed it will connect Shetland’s energy network with the National Grid for the first time, which SSEN says will provide a more stable power supply.