Northern Scotland's electricity transmission network is now supporting more than 4.5GW of renewable electricity after the recent connections of Bienneun (Blue Energy, 108.8MW) and Bhlaraidh (SSE Renewables, 108MW) wind farms.

The connection of the two wind farms, which were both delivered ahead of schedule, brings the total amount of renewable electricity connected in the north of Scotland so far this financial year to over 500MW, the highest combined capacity that has connected to the north of Scotland transmission network in a single year since privatisation.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), operating under licence as Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Plc, owns and maintains the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland.

Under its licence, SSEN is required to develop and maintain an efficient, coordinated and economical system of electricity transmission, ensuring that there is sufficient network capacity and providing a connection for developers who wish to export their generated electricity to the grid.

In advance of the imminent closure of the Renewables Obligations Scheme at the end of the financial year, there has been an increased demand for SSEN to provide connections to its transmission network for renewable developers.

In response to this demand, SSEN has worked closely and collaboratively with its customers, focussed on delivering its connections to meet the specific needs and expectations of individual developers.

In the case of the combined Bienneun and Bhlaraidh connection scheme, SSEN and the two developers agreed an accelerated delivery programme to ensure connection to the transmission system before changes to renewable subsidies come into effect.

Transmission Customer Connections director Alastair Brand said: “The demands of our customers to provide a timely connection to our transmission network have never been higher, with over 500MW of renewables already connected this financial year alone.

“I am extremely proud we have not only met the expectations and grid connection dates of the vast majority of our connection customers, in many cases we have delivered early on our commitments, providing those developers the opportunity of an earlier than expected opportunity to start exporting to the grid.

“Our network is now supporting over 4.5GW of low carbon renewable electricity, enough to comfortably power the north of Scotland and beyond when weather conditions are conducive for renewable energy.

“As we continue to grow our network to meet the needs of customers now and in the future, we will continue to place our customers at the heart of our approach to connections, building on our strong legacy as the leading GB Transmission Owner for connecting renewable projects on time.”

SSEN expects to connect a significant number of new renewable projects to its transmission network throughout the remainder of this decade, with enough contracted projects to more than double the current capacity of renewable electricity in the north of Scotland, subject to individual projects going forward.