Call to future-proof Isles energy connection

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has today (August 15th) written to OFGEM about the proposed capacity, and timescale for the Western Isles interconnector.

The link will enables the transportation of electricity from renewable energy projects in the Western Isles to the mainland national grid.

Mrs Grant said: “I understand from SSE’s proposed Business Plan for the next decade that the suggested capacity of the Western Isles Interconnector is to be 450mw.

“I discussed this matter with Angus Campbell, Leader of CnES, when we met last month and while the community is keen to see progress on the connection as soon as possible, concerns have been raised that the 450mw proposal will only accommodate existing projects and will allow no scope for future renewable developments. 

“Mr Campbell advises me that in order to sufficiently accommodate existing and future wave, wind and tidal developments the capacity needs to be at least 900mw, double what is being proposed.”

The MSP added: “The potential for future renewable development in the area is well acknowledged.  Failure to commission a link with sufficient capacity to cope with existing and future projects would be a huge setback, not only for renewable development on the islands but also in terms of the Government’s climate change targets.”

“It is essential that progress is made with the link as soon as possible but more than that, it is vital that any link commissioned by OFGEM has sufficient capacity.”