Ofgem gives the nod to Shetland Link

In: Interconnectors
Ofgem has decided to approve a 600 MW High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) subsea transmission link between mainland Scotland and the Shetland Isles, on the condition that the Viking Energy Wind Farm (VEWF) goes ahead. Proposed by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHE-T), the Shetland Interconnector is to be delivered in Q1 2024.

In October last year, Ofgem was unable to approve SHE-T's original proposal for the Shetland Interconnector because the Viking Energy Wind Farm project had failed to win a subsidy in the UK Government’s Contract for Difference Auction.

Despite this, SSE made the final investment decision for the 103-turbine onshore wind farm in June this year. It was part of the company's £7 billion of private capital in low-carbon investments in the UK and Ireland over the next five years to support a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 443 MW VEWF will harness the wind conditions in Shetland which is expected to result in an estimated load factor of around 48%. Once built, it will be the largest onshore wind farm in the UK in terms of annual electricity output, which is expected to be around 1.9 TWh each year.

Construction on the enabling works for the transmission link has started, with works on the wind farm starting late summer.
Ofgem found that this is sufficient evidence that the project will go ahead, paving the way for the Shetland Interconnector.

Ofgem's full and detailed reasons for its decision will be published by the end of July. This will provide a full summary of responses to the Consultation it launched in April that address both the Final Needs Case, and Delivery Model, discuss the main points that were raised and how its considered these before coming to its decision.

SSEN is proposing to construct between the Shetland Isles and the Scottish mainland by April 2024 with the estimated capital cost of the project reaching around £630m.

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