Plans to install a £1.2 billion undersea electricity cable that will help boost the capacity for renewable energy in Scotland have been given the green light. The project by SSE aims to use a link between Caithness and Moray in order to deliver 1.2 gigawatts of renewable energy. The scheme is due to be completed in 2018 and is currently the largest energy investment in the region since the boom of the hydro market in the 1950s.
However, the plans may be subject to change over the coming months. The industry regulator Ofgem said that although it has approved the project it is still in the process of studying the financial aspects of the scene. If the regulator finds that the financial details are overblown and the project could be completed for less, it will lower the amount of funding provided to for the link. It will consult the plans in the autumn before making a decision.
A senior partner for transmission at Ofgem, Martin Crouch, said:
This is a major step forward for an essential upgrade to the high voltage grid so that more renewable energy can connect to the networks. We have already started on the next phase of checking SSE’s spending plans and we will ensure it completes the work as efficiently as possible so that consumers pay a fair price for this.
Ofgem has also recently announced that that it will be cutting charges for utility companies that generate green energy. From April of 2016, charges to suppliers coming from the transmission operator National Grid will attempt to closely reflect how they use the network. It hopes that suppliers using wind and solar energy rather than constantly relying on the grid will see benefits.
Martin Crouch continued:
The changes to transmission charging are the result of an extensive consultation process and detailed analysis. The new arrangements more accurately reflect the costs of Britain’s diverse energy generation and will lead to lower costs overall for consumers.
SSE, which formerly went by the name Scottish And Southern Energy, is a utility company based out of Perth, Scotland. It is considered to be one of the United Kingdom’s Big Six energy companies alongside British Gas, Scottish Power, Npower, Eon and EDF. It provides gas and electricity to homes and businesses across the UK.
The green energy line will be a boost for the Scottish renewable energy sector and is expected to have a knock on effect for communities and business around the rest of Scotland.