Ofgem has approved a proposal by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to build the link which would allow new wind farms on Shetland to export renewable electricity to the rest of Great Britain and help ensure supply of electricity on the islands.
The cable will also mean that electricity can be imported to Shetland, offering power security for the island once the power station in Lerwick has been switched off in five years time.
However, Ofgem’s approval is subject to receiving sufficient evidence by the end of 2020 that the 457MW Viking Energy Wind Farm project planned for Shetland is likely to go ahead.
It previously rejected the link, saying in October that the failure of the projects to secure subsidies meant it was not able to approve it and another from the Western Isles, but said it would consider revised plans. That came six months after it had originally said it was minded to approve the Shetland proposals.
Ofgem regulates network companies including SSEN, which is a subsidiary of SSE. All energy consumers pay for the cost of investment in new network capacity through their energy bills.
Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “Ofgem’s immediate focus is to support the energy industry so it can respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure consumers, especially the vulnerable, are protected.
“Today’s announcement will help stimulate economic growth as the economy recovers from COVID 19, as well as unlocking Shetland’s potential to supply low cost renewable electricity for consumers across Great Britain.”
Ofgem has launched an eight week consultation on the link.
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