SSE ditches plan to link island wind farms to grid

Scottish & Southern Energy is at the centre of a row over exporting renewable energy from the Western Isles to the mainland grid. The company had said it would link […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Scottish & Southern Energy is at the centre of a row over exporting renewable energy from the Western Isles to the mainland grid.

The company had said it would link wind farms on the islands to the grid, but has now ditched those plans, prompting fury from local councillors and the Scottish government and a review by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

SSE chief executive Ian Marchant said it was forced to shelve the plans because the wind farm developers said they could not pay the “£95-a-megawatt charges set by the National Grid”.

“Without their commitment, SSE has said it is not to go ahead with the grid connections,” he added.

But councillors on the islands are furious. They want to harness the winds of the Hebridean islands to transform local economies, but need the electrical infrastructure in place, and that means the inter-connector SSE said it would build.

Angus Campbell, leader of the Western Isles Council, has branded SSE’s decision as “simple discrimination against islands and we have perhaps reached the time when the European Union has to be engaged to investigate the approach”.

A Scottish government spokesman called for “the UK government and Ofgem to deliver the appropriate conditions that will secure a subsea cable connecting the Western Isles to the Scottish mainland”.

A review into the situation is said to be under way at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.