Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is hosting a further round of public consultation events on Orkney to provide an update on its proposed transmission connection to the main GB transmission system.

In February/March 2017, SSEN held a round of public consultation events to seek early feedback from the local community and other stakeholders on a number of options for the transmission reinforcement.  Following the comments received and detailed studies looking at technical, environmental and cost considerations; SSEN has now published its proposed subsea and land cable routes, as well as its proposed substation location. 

SSEN’s proposal would see a new indoor substation located at Finstown with an underground cable installed to connect this to Warebeth/Billia Croo to the west of Stromness on the Orkney mainland.  This would then connect to a subsea cable, connecting to Dounreay in Caithness, allowing electricity from Orkney to be transmitted to areas of demand across the main GB transmission system.

The substation location follows detailed assessments on four previously proposed sites with Finstown previously identified as the optimum location to enable the connection of proposed renewable generation projects located across Orkney.

The proposed transmission reinforcement is required to accommodate additional renewable electricity looking to connect to the electricity network.  Due to a number of factors over recent years, such as changes in Government policy or the readiness or commercial viability of renewable energy projects across Orkney, it has not been possible to proceed with the transmission proposal through the current regulatory process. 

SSEN has revaluated the Orkney electricity system and the requirements from all generators looking to connect and is now proposing an alternative approach to allocate the necessary volume of capacity to underpin the case for the proposed reinforcement.  This pilot approach would see capacity allocated on a ‘ready to connect’ basis which is intended to ensure full use is made of the proposed reinforcement and capacity is made available to Orkney developers at the earliest opportunity.  

During the previous round of public consultation, SSEN also presented the range of technology options that could be used to connect renewable projects to the proposed substation at Finstown.  Based on the feedback received from the local community SSEN can confirm it will not be considering steel lattice towers going forward.

Commenting on the proposed reinforcement and consultation events, SSEN’s Project Manager, Peter Jordan, said:

“As a responsible developer, we are determined to work closely with the local community throughout every stage of the development process. 

“We are committed to take on board the views of the local community where possible, as demonstrated by our decision not to use steel lattice towers, and we would encourage anyone with an interest in the project to come along to one of the consultation events to meet our team and make their views known.”

Commenting on the alternative approach to the project, SSEN’s Commercial Policy Manager, Lauren Milligan, said:

“Orkney is home to some of Europe’s greatest renewable resources and there is a clear need to provide a transmission reinforcement to allow Orkney to realise its vast renewables potential. 

“Due to a number of reasons it has not been possible to make a robust case to obtain the necessary regulatory approval to proceed with the proposed reinforcement.  The alternative approach we are looking to introduce would significantly strengthen the investment case and help Orkney build on its proud renewables legacy.”

The public consultations events will take place at the following locations:

  • Wednesday 22 November Stromness Community Centre 2pm - 7pm
  • Thursday 23 November Firth Community Centre 2pm - 7pm
  • Friday 24 November Kirkwall and St Ola Community Centre 2pm - 7pm

For more information on the proposed Orkney transmission reinforcement, please visit http://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/projects/orkney/

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