Comhairle calls for a 600MW capacity Inter-Connector for the Western Isles and calls the 450MW proposal “shortsighted”

Comhairle Leader Roddie Mackay is confident that the present pipeline of renewables projects will quickly fill a 600MW cable.
Comhairle Leader Roddie Mackay is confident that the present pipeline of renewables projects will quickly fill a 600MW cable.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has noted its “extreme disappointment” in regards to the energy regulator OFGEM’s preference for a 450MW interconnector link to the Western Isles rather than a 600MW capacity cable.

With a significant amount of Megawatt projects already being developed, the Local Authority described the proposal as “short-sighted in the extreme to limit connection to 450MW”.

The Comhairle believe a 600MW connection is essential to ensure community and off-shore renewable energy projects are delivered for the region.

Comhairle Leader, Cllr Roddie Mackay, said, “The Comhairle has been making the case for this cable since 2005 and we welcome OFGEM’s consultation.

“The present consultation is a step in the right direction and one that opens potential for significant development opportunity in the islands.

“I am, however, extremely disappointed at the short-sightedness of OFGEM’s position of being minded to approve a 450MW connection rather than 600MW.

“I am confident that the present pipeline of renewables projects will quickly fill a 600MW cable and that OFGEM’s fears around 150MW of stranded assets are ill-founded.

“It will be in the GB consumers interest for a 600MW connection to be built rather than risk the high costs of a second inter-connector in a short number of years.”

He added: “I note that OFGEM would consider the case for a 600MW transmission link if consumers were more appropriately protected from the additional costs of funding a potentially oversized link.

“The cost differential between a 450MW connection and a 600MW connection is marginal in the overall connector cost.

“I would, therefore, urge SSE and LWP to work together to find methodologies to remove the additional costs to give OFGEM the confidence to approve at 600MW.

“The Comhairle will be using the consultation period to work with the UK and Scottish Governments and other local and national partners to make a robust case for a 600MW connector.

“I firmly believe that a 600MW connector is in the local interest, the national interest and in the interest of all GB consumers.”