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SSEN seeks Ofgem's approval for 220MW Orkney transmission link

EBR Staff Writer Published 06 March 2018

British utility SSE wholly-owned subsidiary Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is seeking approval from the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) for a power link with up to 220MW capacity from Orkney to Scotland’s mainland.

As part of this effort, SSEN submitted a Strategic Wider Works (SWW) ‘Final Needs Case’ to the energy regulator for the Orkney subsea cable transmission link. 

The Orkney transmission link is intended to allow new renewable generation seeking to connect on Orkney access to the GB transmission network.

SSEN transmission director Dave Gardner said: “After developing several proposals to provide transmission reinforcement to Orkney over the years, submitting our Needs Case to Ofgem for regulatory approval is an important milestone.

“We would like to thank our customers, the Orkney community and other key stakeholders for working closely and constructively with us over the years, providing valuable feedback that has allowed us to progress the Needs Case and Alternative Approach submission."

Following the regulatory approval, SSEN plans to initially commission a single 220kV subsea cable in October 2022.

It will be followed by a second cable of similar specification, subject to further generation commitment and the economic case for further investment. 

In its Needs Case, SSEN has presented a comprehensive analysis of the investment choices available to meet a range of credible future generation scenarios on the Orkney Islands. 

SSEN said in statement: “This analysis concludes that the ‘tipping point’ to justify the investment for the first cable is no more than 70MW, the point at which the cost of the investment is exceeded by the benefits of the renewable energy supplied to energy consumers.”

Both National Grid, as the System Operator, and independent economic consultants have assessed the SSEN’s analysis.

SSEN is seeking a conditional approval of the Needs Case from the regulator, subject to demonstration of committment by developers for 70MW of generation. 

Image: SSE officials at an event. Photo: courtesy of SSE.