UK energy regulator Ofgem has given its final approval of need for SSEN Transmission’s plans to provide a subsea electricity transmission link to Orkney.
The Orkney transmission link will enable the connection of up to 220 MW of new renewable electricity and will consist of a new substation at Finstown in Orkney, and around 57 kilometers of subsea cable, connecting to a new substation at Dounreay in Caithness.
According to SSEN Transmission, the Orkney Islands are home to some of the world’s greatest resources of renewable electricity, from established onshore wind to emerging marine technologies, where Orkney is at the forefront of global developments in marine energy generation.
If the wave and tidal energy industry make use of the cable, the new electricity transmission link between Orkney and the Scottish mainland could be worth £807 million to Orkney economy, a report issued in 2021 states.
“Orkney is home to vast amounts of renewable energy and we have long championed the need to provide a transmission connection to help unlock its abundant green energy potential,” said Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission.
“We are delighted Ofgem has today granted final approval for the need for the project, which will unlock Orkney’s renewable potential and is the final piece in the jigsaw in connecting Scotland’s three main island groups.”
All planning consents are in place for the point-to-point connection, with work underway to plan the on-island infrastructure required to connect and transport Orkney renewable generators to Finstown substation before onward transmission to demand centers in the north of Scotland and beyond.
Public consultation on the potential onshore infrastructure requirements is planned for late summer or early autumn.
Following this final approval of need, SSEN Transmission and its contractors are planning to host a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event next month in Kirkwall, where local businesses and suppliers can meet the team to discuss potential opportunities to get involved in helping to deliver the project.
“As well as supporting 2030 Government targets, our future energy security and a pathway to net zero emissions, the Orkney transmission link and associated onshore infrastructure will deliver significant local and national socio-economic benefits and we look forward to engaging with local businesses next month to try and maximise the benefits of this investment in the local economy,” said McDonald.
To remind, Ofgem announced it had provisionally approved SSEN Transmission’s plans to develop the project in March.