MSP says the larger power cable for Western Isles is “still to play for”

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has said that a 600MW interconnector for the Western Isles is still to play for following his most recent exchange with energy regulator, Ofgem.

Earlier this year Ofgem indicated it was minded to reject a proposal for a 600MW link due to costs and instead proposed a smaller 450MW connection.

Mr Cameron said: “I think it is clear that the strength of advocacy coming from the Western Isles for increased capacity on the interconnector is causing Ofgem to seriously consider its options.

“This is entirely due to the strong campaign that so many people across the islands have lent their support to.

“It is imperative that we continue to apply pressure and demonstrate how strongly the community feels about this issue which is, really, about the future sustainability of the islands.”

In his reply to the Scottish Conservative MSPs’ letter, Ryan McFadden of Ofgem wrote: “…rejecting the need for a link or approving a smaller link without any opportunity for additional generation to connect, risks preventing potentially significant levels of wind generation on the Western Isles coming forward later in the 2020s, or risks consumers paying for an additional cable to connect that generation.”

Mr Cameron said: “The acknowledgement that rejecting our arguments risks taxpayers having to pay for an additional cable in the future is a significant step forward in that it recognises that the cost implications are not just one-way.

“I believe that a 600MW interconnector is still to play for and look forward to continuing my dialogue with Ofgem until we have a satisfactory resolution.”