The formal business case for a subsea electricity cable to link Western Isles renewable energy farms to the National Grid have been submitted to regulator, Ofgem. Work on the £290 million green energy interconnector could go ahead as early as 2012 if all the necessary consents can be obtained in the next few months. The submission to the electricity regulator was made on Tuesday by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd
Their proposed 450MW underwater cable would feed into the National Grid via the new transmission network that is planned between a new converter station in Beauly and Denny in Stirlingshire. The Beauly to Denny transmission upgrade is, however, subject to a planning inquiry, a decision on which is expected from the Scottish Government in January.
Ross Easton, a spokesperson for Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Limited (SHETL) confirmed to the Gazette: "As part of the Western Isles Transmission Connection project, we made a submission to Ofgem regarding our proposed HVDC link following their decision earlier this year to consider the link under SHETL's regulated price control settlement. This is an expected part of the project and is now with Ofgem for review. We're currently working to a completion date in late 2012."
It is expected the proposed subsea cable would make landfall at Gravir in South Lochs where Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have already granted planning permission for a sub-station. This area is also close to the Muaithabhal wind farm scheme, for which the council has already given its tentative backing and is expected to endorse tonight (Thursday) at the full Comhairle meeting.
There are also a number of other renewable energy projects on the rack, which could be progressed rapidly if the interconnector cable gets the go ahead.
© 2009 - Stornoway Gazette