Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) has today published the response to its consultation ‘Connecting Orkney – Electricity Network Reinforcement’ and is proposing a list of actions to help resolve the issues around reinforcing the grid.
The existing electricity network in Orkney is at maximum capacity with little scope for reinforcement without a number of parties working together to overcome some of the outstanding issues.
The Consultation outlined potential options for network reinforcement and generated a good response from a range of interest who were supportive of finding a solution with 63% in favour of a new distribution link and 71% in favour of either a distribution, transmission or both being developed. 48% believed there was a special case for adopting a different approach for connecting emerging technology such as wave or tidal.
SSEPD will now, amongst other initiatives, work with Orkney Islands Council and developers to understand the amount of onshore wind that could be developed within planning and environmental constraints in order to justify a transmission reinforcement and with Scottish Government and, if appropriate, the European Union, on funding for a distribution reinforcement.
David Gardner, Director of Transmission, said: “There is widespread recognition that no single party can resolve the outstanding issues. We are already actively working with Orkney Islands Council, the UK and Scottish Government, the regulator and other interested parties to help overcome the issues that continue to stand in the way of developing a transmission link to Orkney. We have had significant notes of interest from developers of onshore wind which could help to support the case for a link and we will progress discussions with developers and Orkney Islands Council regarding this.”
Stuart Hogarth, Director of Distribution, added: “Whilst it is clear that a single distribution reinforcement would not provide an overall solution, we will continue to work with government, Orkney Islands Council and developers to look at funding options.”
The consultation report can be viewed on the dedicated project page http://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/projects/orkney/