A proposed 220 MW transmission link connecting the Orkney Islands and the Scottish mainland has been given the go-ahead by UK regulator Ofgem.
The new link – developed by SSE Networks – would enable new onshore wind farms and marine energy projects on Orkney to transmit energy to the rest of Great Britain.
Ofgem says that the £260 million project can go ahead, subject to conditions “which ensure value for money for all consumers”, following a consultation process launched last year.
Approval for the link is conditional on a number of wind energy projects in Orkney either winning contracts for difference (CFD) in a UK tender round, or being judged as likely to go ahead without CFD support by an independent auditor.
“Ofgem would expect to be satisfied that new wind farm projects are likely to be developed despite not being awarded a CFD if an independent audit states that the project is financially viable, has signed a relevant grid connection agreement and has been granted planning permission” Ofgem said in a statement.
CFD contracts are designed to provide long-term financial support for renewable energy projects.
The UK launched its latest CFD tender at the end of August and is expected to announce winning bidders during September. Onshore wind energy has been excluded from participating in the tender with the exception of projects located on the Scottish Isles.