Comhairle nan Eilean Siar today welcomed news that Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has submitted its ‘Needs Case’ for the proposed 600MW Western Isles Radial Connector to energy regulator, OFGEM.
If authorised by OFGEM, the new Radial Connector, running from Arnish Point to the UK National Grid at Beauly and scheduled for completion late in 2023, could allow large volumes of renewable generation (commercial and community owned) to access the GB electricity market. Final delivery of the Radial Connector will depend on OFGEM authorisation and the two largest Transmission connected generation schemes in the Western Isles – Stornoway Wind Farm and Uisenis Wind Farm – being successful in the forthcoming 2019 Auction for Price Support incentives.
Commenting on the news, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development Committee, Cllr Donald Crichton, said:
“This is excellent news for the islands and represents the culmination of many years of hard work by the Comhairle and its partners to achieve network reinforcement for the Western Isles. If approved, the Radial Connector will open the way for the development of a transformative Renewable Energy industry in the Western Isles. A 600MW cable means that there is room for the commercial baseload required to justify this level of investment but also room for the community, through a Joint Venture between the Local Authority and The Stornoway Trust, to purchase up to 100MW of consented and connected Onshore Wind generation and for future, community led, generation schemes to come forward. But we cannot be presumptuous – SSEN have made clear that, if Stornoway Wind Farm and Uisenis Wind Farm do not secure Contracts for Difference in next year’s Price Support incentive Auction at present generation volumes, there will be no investment case for network reinforcement and the Radial Connector project will be cancelled.
“We will continue to work with our partners in Government, regulation, electricity networks and industry to secure the Radial Connector project as the best outcome for our island communities”.