SSEN Transmission submits Needs Case for Shetland link

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), operating as Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission under licence, has today submitted to the energy regulator, Ofgem, a Strategic Wider Works (SWW) ‘Final Needs Case’ for a subsea cable transmission link from the Shetland Isles to the Scottish mainland.

Shetland is not currently connected to the main GB transmission system and operates as an islanded network, where the islands’ electricity needs are met from local generation.  As there is no capacity to connect new electricity generation the network, a new link to the mainland is required to enable renewable generators seeking to connect on Shetland to export electricity to the GB market.

Following confirmation from the UK Government to allow remote island onshore wind to compete in the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction in May 2019, there is now an opportunity to progress with the transmission reinforcement, 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, connecting 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.

“We would like to thank our generation customers and wider stakeholders who have helped inform the development of the Needs Case and we now look forward to working constructively with Ofgem as they review our submission.”

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 utilisation of 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 will confirm findings in the coming months.

More information on the Shetland Transmission project can be found at http://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/projects/shetland/