SSEN Submits Needs Case to Ofgem for Orkney Subsea Cable

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has submitted a Strategic Wider Works (SWW) ‘Final Needs Case’ to Ofgem for a subsea cable transmission link from Orkney to the Scottish mainland. 

Following the significant growth in small-scale renewable electricity generation over recent years, the existing Orkney electricity network is at full capacity and no further generation can connect without significant network reinforcements.

Pending regulatory approval, SSEN’s proposed solution would deliver a phased approach to reinforcement, which will initially deliver a single 220kV subsea cable in October 2022, followed by a second cable of similar specification once further generation has committed and the economic case has been made for the further investment.

In the Needs Case, SSEN presents a comprehensive analysis of the investment options available to meet a range of credible future generation scenarios on the Orkney Islands.

SSEN’s analysis has been assessed by both National Grid, as the system operator, and independent economic consultants.

SSEN is therefore requesting a conditional approval of the Needs Case from Ofgem subject to demonstration that 70MW of generation has been committed to by developers.

As part of its business case, SSEN is proposing an alternative approach to the current “first to contract, first to connect” arrangements to unlock potential barriers to connection. The alternative approach, which is also subject to regulatory approval, would see capacity allocated on a “ready to connect” basis.

Dave Gardner, director of Transmission, said: “After developing several proposals to provide a transmission reinforcement to Orkney over the years, submitting our Needs Case to Ofgem for regulatory approval is an important milestone.

“We strongly believe our proposals for Orkney represent a strong and compelling economic case for reinforcement and the best possible opportunity to unlock Orkney’s renewable potential. We now look forward to working constructively with Ofgem as they review our submission.”

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