Highlands & Islands

SSEN seeks to progress Western Isles Interconnector

Wind turbine Image copyright PA
Image caption The cable would be used to carry energy generated on the Western Isles to consumers on the mainland

Electricity giant SSEN is investigating how to progress its long-planned Western Isles Interconnector.

For more than 10 years, the company has been planning to lay a subsea cable to link renewable energy projects with the mainland electricity grid.

It has sought to determine at what point its cost of investing in the cable would be exceeded by the benefits of the energy supplied to consumers.

It has previously been estimated the interconnector could cost £780m.

The cable would stretch about 50 miles (80km) from Gravir on Lewis to Ullapool on the north-west coast of mainland Scotland.

SSEN said a recent UK government decision to allow remote island wind farm projects to bid for Contracts for Difference subsidies in 2019 had opened up the potential for "significant volumes of new renewable generation" on the Western Isles, and in turn justify investment in the cable.

The company has been holding public consultation events in Stornoway on Lewis to outline the latest developments on the interconnector plans.

Daryn Lucas, project manager for the Western Isles link, said: "The Western Isles has been subject to a unique range of political, regulatory and commercial challenges stretching over a decade.

"Continuing to engage with our customers, stakeholders and other interested parties will be vital as we move forward with proposals to provide a transmission connection, once developer commitment, regulatory approval and planning consent has been secured."

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