There are fears this week that the vital subsea cable link to Western Isles renewables projects to the mainland could face a new setback.
However a crucial report by the Scottish Islands Renewables Group, set up by UK Energy Minister Edward Davey in conjunction with the Scottish Government, is expected to be published this week which should make the situation clearer.
As reported in the Stornoway Gazette recently Scottish Hydro Electric (SHE) Transmission appear to be stepping back from a firm timetable of 2016 for the completion of the interconnector.
Ofgem have written a strongly worded letter to SHE Transmission asking for an update on timing and have now received a response which casts doubt on the security of the project.
SHE Transmission state in their letter to Ofgem: “We continue to keep under review the demonstrable user need for this project. At this time we are not able to satisfy ourselves of that need. We have reached this view after taking into account of the continued representations about the need for the Scottish Islands Renewables Steering Group to determine on additional subsidy which, by definition, means that the Western Isles project must be uneconomic on the basis of the current policy.”
SHE Tranmission say the output of the Group is ‘on the critical path for this project’.
An Ofgem spokesperson said: “The owner of the transmission network, SHE Transmission, is responsible for making the case for investment projects such as the Western Isles. We expect SHE Transmission to come to us with such investment cases at the appropriate time. We also expect SHE Transmission to continue to engage effectively with stakeholders, including generation developers who are seeking to invest on the Western Isles.”