Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has noted the position of Energy Regulator, OFGEM, to approve a resubmitted proposal for a 450MW transmission link to the Western Isles based on the two LWP projects being successfully awarded a CfD (Contract for Difference) in the 2019 allocation round. This is a step in the right direction and it opens the way to the establishment of significant new industry in the islands.
The Comhairle is, however, extremely disappointed that OFGEM's preference is for a 450MW link rather than the 600MW cable which stakeholders have called for. There are significant Megawatts presently in the development pipeline and it appears short-sighted in the extreme to limit connection to 450MW. A 600MW connection is essential to ensure community and off-shore renewables projects are delivered.
Comhairle Leader, Cllr Roddie Mackay, said, "The Comhairle has been making the case for this cable since 2005 and we welcome OFGEM's consultation. The present consultation is a step in the right direction and one that opens potential for significant development opportunity in the islands. I am, however, extremely disappointed at the short-sightedness of OFGEM’s position of being minded to approve a 450MW connection rather than 600MW. I am confident that the present pipeline of renewables projects will quickly fill a 600MW cable and that OFGEM’s fears around 150MW of stranded assets are ill-founded. It will be in the GB consumers interest for a 600MW connection to be built rather than risk the high costs of a second inter-connector in a short number of years.
“I note that OFGEM would consider the case for a 600MW transmission link if consumers were more appropriately protected from the additional costs of funding a potentially oversized link. The cost differential between a 450MW connection and a 600MW connection is marginal in the overall connector cost. I would, therefore, urge SSE and LWP to work together to find methodologies to remove the additional costs to give OFGEM the confidence to approve at 600MW.
The Comhairle will be using the consultation period to work with the UK and Scottish Governments and other local and national partners to make a robust case for a 600MW connector. I firmly believe that a 600MW connector is in the local interest, the national interest and in the interest of all GB consumers”.