It’s well known that Orkney is home to some of Europe’s greatest renewable energy resources, from established technologies such as onshore wind; to emerging, innovative wave and tidal energy. With significant volumes of new renewable generation looking to potentially connect here, we have been investigating options to progress a transmission connection from Orkney to the main GB transmission system for a number of years.

So far, despite a strong underlying interest in connecting, uncertainty in the contracted generation background at any single point in time and the changing generation background has made it difficult to demonstrate that reinforcement is required using the ‘conventional’ industry approach, creating a catch 22, with investment stalling. To overcome this, we’ve had to look at things differently.

As a customer driven initiative, our proposed Alternative Approach, aims to unlock Orkney’s renewable potential by creating an opportunity for those ‘ready to connect’ via a staged approach to network reinforcement. We believe this provides the most economical and efficient solution by reinforcing the network in incremental stages and allocating capacity on a ready to connect basis; this ensures reinforcement delivered is fully utilised at the earliest opportunity and overcomes barriers previously faced by customers.

In Spring 2018, we consulted with stakeholders on our initial thinking in addition to submitting a needs case to Ofgem. We would like to thank everyone who inputted into that process and provided feedback during our first consultation round (you can read more about the feedback from our first consultation here: https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/projects/orkney/

Since then we have been analysing stakeholder feedback and further refining and developing the detail of our Alternative Approach. To further test our thinking, we have today published a second stage consultation document highlighting and seeking feedback on the detailed policy proposals that we believe will be required to successfully delivery the Orkney transmission reinforcement. Following feedback we plan to share final proposals with Ofgem at the end of the summer with a view to implementing arrangements at the end of this year, subject to any necessary regulatory approval.

Stakeholder feedback is a vital part of the Alternative Approach process and we want to ensure that we develop a solution that not only works for network companies but also the wider industry and its connection customers. In particular, we are seeking views on

  • Implementing a ‘ready to connect’ process which will allow allocation of capacity to those who are ready following the submission of informative delivery plans.
  • Adjusting securities for a period to align with the level of securities experienced by projects on the mainland. This will help reduce the initial barrier of connection for a defined period of time.

We believe the Alternative Approach will help us to overcome the catch 22 currently facing Orkney, which has resulted in investment stalling. What do you think?

To view the Orkney consultation document please click here: https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/projects/orkney/

SSEN will be holding a series of consultation events in Kirkwall and Glasgow, along with an online webinar in the coming weeks to further discuss our plans. If you are interested in joining any of our events in July or would like to respond to the consultation, please visit the dedicated project page here – the consultation will be open until 29th July 2018.

To register for an event please click on your preferred date and location below:

Kirkwall, 11th July (6pm-8pm) - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ssen-public-consultation-event-an-alternative-solution-to-unlock-orkneys-vast-renewable-potential-tickets-47166702878  

Kirkwall, 12th July (10pm-12pm) - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ssen-public-consultation-events-an-alternative-solution-to-unlock-orkneys-vast-renewable-potential-tickets-47166443101  

Glasgow, 13th July (10.30am – 12.30pm) - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ssen-public-consultation-events-an-alternative-solution-to-unlock-orkneys-vast-renewable-potential-tickets-47166908493

Online Webinar, 17th July (10am-12pm) - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ssen-public-consultation-event-an-alternative-solution-to-unlock-orkneys-vast-renewable-potential-tickets-47167085021

 

About the author

Lauren Logan, Commercial Policy Manager

Lauren Logan joined SSE in 2016 from the industry regulator Ofgem as part of the Corporate Business Services Directorate working in the networks regulation team focusing on connections services and customer relationship management for the Distribution business. In September 2017 Lauren joined the Networks Development team in SSEN as a Commercial Policy Manager covering policy issues such as queue management and connections. Lauren is responsible for any policy and commercial arrangements for Orkney Transmission customers as well as working with the Distribution business to provide an SSEN alternative Approach to the Orkney reinforcement. 

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