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Ofgem knocks back Orkney power plans

wave stock image tidal power cropped

Energy regulator Ofgem has told Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) that it must make changes to its plans for a new interconnector for Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

Ofgem has told SSEN to secure more generational capacity before it will approve the proposed 220MW high voltage link to connect the Orkney islands to mainland Scotland. 

The link is set to cost £260M and is due to be completed in 2022, allowing wind farms and experimental tidal projects on the Scottish Island to send power to the mainland.  

SSEN submitted a final business plan for the link in March, and asked Ofgem to approve the project on the condition that SSEN would secure 70MW of generation capacity on Orkney to use the interconnector by 2019.  

In a statement released on their website, Ofgem said that the 70MW is not enough to justify the construction of a 220MW link, and customers risk paying for infrastructure that won’t be used to its full capabilities.  

“Ofgem is consulting on approving the Orkney link subject to SSEN demonstrating, by no later than December 2019, that at least 135MW of new generation on Orkney has either been awarded a Contract for Difference (CfD) in the government’s 2019 CfD auction or secured planning consent and finance to construct its project,” an Ofgem spokesperson said.  

Ofgem also said that new energy projects on the island that can commit to using the interconnector will be fast tracked to help SSEN meet the new 135MW target.  

Ofgem will make a final decision in Spring 2019.  

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