Isles representatives welcome positive news on Orkney energy transmission link

3 Mar 2023

Orkney’s parliamentary representatives, Alistair Carmichael MP and Liam McArthur MSP have welcomed news today that Ofgem has launched a consultation on the £371m Orkney interconnector transmission link with provisional approval. The energy regulator has said it is minded to approve the proposals following recent developer progress in meeting Ofgem’s conditionality.

If approved this would enable the connection of up to 220MW of new renewable electricity and consists of a new substation at Finstown in Orkney, and around 57km of subsea cable, connecting to a new substation at Dounreay in Caithness. 

All planning consents and land agreements are in place for the point-to-point connection, with work underway to plan the on-island infrastructure required to connect and transport Orkney renewable generators to Finstown substation, before onward transmission to demand centres in the north of Scotland and beyond.

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael said:

“This is a good day for the isles. The case for the Orkney transmission link was as plain as day as a benefit to both the isles and wider grid capacity and resilience. This is an opportunity to release and make use of excess energy capacity here.

“It has been a long hard slog to get to this point – and really should not have been as much of a struggle as it has proven.

“Even so this announcement is a credit to all the team members and stakeholders who have worked together to get approval to the line. Now there can be no further delay – we need to see further progress as soon as possible so that the link can be completed.”

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:

"The case for improved transmission links to the islands has long been a compelling one and I’m pleased that this case has finally been accepted by the regulator.

"Orkney has punched well above its weight in the development of renewables and has the potential to contribute significantly to meeting Scotland and the UK’s net zero ambitions. To date, however, that potential has been thwarted by limited grid capacity.

"Hopefully, the green light from Ofgem will now allow Orkney to fulfil that potential and I pay tribute to those within the local sector and other partners who have done so much in building such a compelling case.

"Given the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for energy security, we can afford no more delays in getting this vital link in place."