Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks submitted to the British energy regulator Ofgem a final needs case for a subsea transmission cable to connect the Shetland Isles to the Scottish mainland.
The SSE PLC subsidiary is proposing a 600-MW high-voltage, direct-current circuit from Kergord on Shetland to Noss Head in Caithness on the Scottish mainland, almost all of which will be underwater. It will run about 260 kilometers and connect into the Caithness-Moray transmission link, a 1,200-MW high-voltage, direct-current project which is currently under construction and due to be completed by the end of this year, according to an Oct. 5 news release.
The new link is intended to unlock the Shetland Isles' renewable energy potential by allowing generators to export electricity to the Great Britain market. The U.K. government has allowed remote island onshore wind to compete in the next Contracts for Difference auction in May 2019. Currently, the electric grid serving the Shetland Isles is not connected to the U.K. In 2012, a joint venture between SSE and the local Shetland community was granted permission to develop an onshore wind energy facility of up to 457 MW.
"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," SSEN Director of Transmission Dave Gardner said in the news release.
SSEN operates as Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd. under license.