Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), operating as Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission under licence, has submitted the Strategic Wider Works (SWW) ‘final needs case’ for the cable.
Shetland is not currently connected to the main GB transmission system; the islands’ electricity needs are met from local generation. As there is no spare capacity, a new link to the mainland is required to enable renewable generators to export electricity to the GB market.
The UK government is allowing remote island onshore wind to compete in the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction in May 2019. This has create an opportunity to progress with the reinforcement of transmission capabilities, subject to the success of Shetland renewable developers in the CfD auction and regulatory approval.
SSEN’s proposed solution would deliver a deliver a single 600MW subsea circuit from Kergord on Shetland to Noss Head in Caithness on the Scottish mainland. It would connect into the Caithness-Moray transmission link, which is currently under construction.
Dave Gardner, SSEN’s director of transmission, said: “Today marks a significant milestone in providing a transmission connection to Shetland. We believe our proposal represents a robust, economic case for reinforcement and provides the best possible opportunity to unlock Shetland’s renewable potential.
“The submission marks an important first step in the process, however successful delivery will be dependent on sufficient volumes of renewable generation capacity securing a CfD contract to underpin the investment case, in addition to regulatory approval and relevant planning consents.”
SSEN’s Distribution business, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD), is also investigating further options to ensure long-term security of supply on Shetland at the most affordable cost, following Ofgem’s decision to reject the Shetland New Energy Solution in November last year. SHEPD is in the process of assessing whether using the proposed transmission link to meet Shetland’s future energy needs would represent the best value for Shetland and GB consumers compared with alternative options, and has said that it will confirm findings in the coming months.