Ofgem denies Scottish Isles interconnector proposals

In: Cables
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has decided not to approve proposals by Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) to build subsea electricity transmission links from the Scottish Isles to mainland Scotland.

The proposed
Shetland Link aimed to connect planned wind farm projects on Shetland with mainland Scotland, allowing them to export electricity to the rest of Great Britain. In March 2019, Ofgem said it was minded to approve the £709 million link.  

The proposal from SSEN for a 600 MW transmission link was based on the largest planned onshore project, Viking Energy Wind Farm, securing subsidies through the UK Government’s Autumn Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction. Ofgem stated that the award of these subsidies would have provided confidence that the wind farm is likely to progress, and protection of consumers from the risk of paying for an underutilised transmission link to the Shetland Isles. However, the wind farm was not successful in securing these subsidies in last month’s auction.

Regarding SSEN's 600 MW
Western Isles Link, Ofgem is unable to approve SSEN’s proposal. In March 2019 Ofgem said it was minded not to approve the estimated £623 million link, but would approve a revised submission for a 450 MW link or consider the case for a 600 MW link if consumers were more appropriately protected from the risk of paying for an oversized link.  

The proposal from SSEN for a 600 MW transmission link was based on two planned projects, Stornoway and Uisenis Wind Farms (formerly both Lewis Wind Power projects), securing subsidies in the recent auction. Only one of the projects was successful, and Ofgem claimed that this increased the risk that consumers would be paying for a 'significantly' underutilised transmission link.

Ofgem has encouraged SSEN to submit revised proposals for both transmission links, including establishing more certainty for consumers that the wind farm projects will go ahead. Ofgem stated  is engaging with SSEN to secure evidenced and realistic proposals from them and will endeavour to consider them as soon as possible.

For more information about subsea cable transmission systems and wind farms,
click here. Subsea cable projects worldwide can also be view on 4C Offshore's Interactive Map.

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