Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is calling on community groups with renewable energy generation aspirations to contact Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to secure space on the new 1.8GW Transmission Link which will connect the Western Isles to the National Grid.
The Transmission Link was recently approved by electricity regulator, OFGEM, and SSEN’s Transmission division is now in procurement with construction of the Link scheduled for 2026 to 2030. The Link will be available for new connections from 2030.
A community group intending to erect wind turbines for export to Grid (and financial return) will need to go through the Planning process before applying for a Contract for Difference (guaranteed price for electrical output) incentive. These processes will take a number of years to navigate and renewables-minded community groups are urged to begin scoping out their projects now.
Securing a Grid connection is an essential first step for these projects but, regrettably, there is no statutory obligation for National Grid and SSEN Transmission to prioritise ‘community’ connections over commercial connections in the connections queue.
Cllr Donald Crichton, Chair of Sustainable Development, said:
“Unfortunately, it is a case of ‘first come first served’ with Grid connection and it is therefore important that community groups with renewable energy aspirations act now to secure space on the new Transmission Link. Any community group intending to erect wind turbines should, in the first instance, visit SSEN Transmission’s Generations Connections page where SSEN Transmission staff will guide prospective generators through the connection process”.