Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) is hosting a series of pre application consultation events on Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles to discuss the replacement of eight electricity submarine cables.

The cables, which collectively measure 40km in length, are approaching the end of their engineering life. The aim of the consultations is to identify the best value method to replace the electricity submarine cables to maintain a safe and secure supply of electricity that suits the local communities.

The meetings will provide an overview of the different cables  and possible methods for replacing the distribution electricity submarine cables. This will allow the public and statutory bodies to feedback their preferences on the route corridors, the installation methods and to highlight any potential impacts which must be taken into consideration.

The cable replacement programme is not covering the islands interconnector cables and the plans are only considering the replacement of the pre-existing distribution electricity submarine cables currently installed. SHEPD is carrying out a replacement programme and not proposing to create any new routes.

Kirstine Wood, Stakeholder Manager, said: “The eight electricity submarine cables we are replacing are coming to an end of their lifecycle. As part of the engagement process we want to receive comments and insight from the public and statutory bodies to ensure their views and opinions influence the final recommendations we will submit to energy regulator Ofgem and Marine Scotland.”

The work to begin the installation of the new cables is due to begin in Spring 2017.