The transmission link will help in connecting the renewable energy generated on Shetland to Great Britain mainland

Shetland Transmission

Ofgem approves interconnector link between Shetland and Great Britain’s mainland. (Credit: Pixabay/enriquelopezgarre.)

SSE has secured approval from UK’s energy regulator Ofgem for the construction of the Shetland link, a 600MW high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission link connecting Shetland to Great Britain mainland.

This approval is, however, conditional as Ofgem needs to be satisfied by the end of this year that the SSE Renewables’ 443 MW Viking wind farm project is likely to move forward.

The final investment decision on the wind farm was taken last month.

Undertaken by SSE’s transmission business Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Transmission (SSEN Transmission), the subsea transmission link will help  connecting renewable power generated on Shetland to the main Great Britain’s electricity system.

After its completion, the project will help in securing future supply needs, while bringing down costs for customers.

SSE stated that it is engaged with the regulator to provide satisfactory evidence on building the wind farm.

Transmission link part of £.75bn low carbon investment

The investment in the subsea transmission link and the wind farm are part of SSE’s £7.5bn low carbon investment programme over the next five years, which was announced last month.

The transmission link is expected to enable a ‘whole system’ approach towards decarbonizing the economy and in supporting the shift towards low carbon heat and transport.

The project could also encourage the oil and gas sector in Shetland to decarbonise its operational electricity needs in a step towards net zero emissions.

SSE CEO Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “This decision marks a significant milestone in delivering a ‘whole system’ solution to meet Shetland’s future needs, as well supporting the transition to net zero emissions, and shows again that we are putting our money where our mouth is on driving the green recovery.

“It has been a long journey, but with a combined investment in excess of £1bn, the construction of the subsea transmission link, all associated onshore infrastructure and the Viking Energy wind farm will deliver substantial socio-economic and environmental benefits to Shetland’s, Scotland’s and the UK’s economy, supporting hundreds of skilled jobs in the process.

“This decision by Ofgem appropriately balances stakeholder interests. That’s something we would hope to see Ofgem return to in its RIIO-T2 price control process, where we need a substantial increase in ambition from what’s in the draft determination if we are to maximise our chances of delivering on net zero.”

SSE stated that with the receipt of all the necessary regulatory and planning approvals, construction of the subsea link and all the associated onshore transmission infrastructure and the Viking wind farm will scale up in the weeks to come.