Crucial Interconnector ready to go in 2020

The Interconnector linking Western Isles renewable projects to the mainland could finally be in place in five years time.

Construction on the link - which is crucial for the development of large-scale projects in the islands - is expected to get underway in August 2017.

A needs-case assessment is due to take place in December this year.

An update was given by Leader of the Comhairle, Angus Campbell at this morning’s (Wedesday) meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee.

He said he had attended a meeting with SHE Transmission and Ofgem in Perth in March.

“At this meeting for the first time we saw a critical path for the interconnector,” he said. “There is still a long way away and still a lot of hard work but at least we have some sort of timetable.”

Mr Campbell said now was the time to re-engage with developers in regards to their projects and to stress the need for community benefit.

Mr Campbell asked the committee to reaffirm their approval for the Leader and officers to continue dialogue on this issue.

He also highlighted that the Comhairle had had discussions regarding the potential of the Western Isles within the Oil and Gas Decommissioning industry.

He said the islands had the skills base and the infrastructure in terms of Arnish yard that could benefit from a role in this sector.

“It appears that we are well placed for that sort of work,” he said.

An Oil and Gas Strategy will now be developed for the Western Isles and a report will come back before councillors in June this year.

Mr Campbell also asked the committee or permission to engage with the industry.