Decision time for Minch inter-connector project

A critical decision on the prospects for a power interconnector between Lewis and the mainland was imminent as we went to press.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 2:29 pm
LWP hope to erect 36 turbines on moorland to the west of Stornoway.
LWP hope to erect 36 turbines on moorland to the west of Stornoway.

The announcement on Contract for Difference awards by the Low Carbon Contracts Company is expected today (Thursday) and will determine whether more than 20 years of efforts to secure an interconnector have been successful.

At present, most of the islands’ renewable energy potential is effectively stranded due to the absence of an interconnector. While two projects – Eisgen and Tolsta – won CfD in the last round, their capacity alone is insufficient to justify the interconnector.

This time, Lewis Wind Power – a partnership of Wood Group and EDF – are awaiting the announcement. The CfD blind auction generally results in bids for the lowest subsidy levels being successful.

If Lewis Wind Power are successful, the focus will then turn to Ofgem who are committed to a 600 MW interconnector if sufficient capacity exists to fill it.

SSE Transmission are currently consulting on a plans for a new High Voltage Direct Current Converter Station and Gas at Arnish Point to facilitate the 81 km interconnector which would have a landfall at Dundonnell in Wester Ross.

However, the same long-running enigma will continue if the Lewis Wind Power bid for CfD does not succeed – Europe’s best renewable energy resources with nowhere for them to go.