By Renewable Energy Focus staff
The Orkney Islands Council (OIC) and the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum (OREF) are calling for immediate action on the upgrade, which could help unlock the renewable energy potential in Orkney.
“We’ve been working with others for some time to secure this badly needed investment – including a new seabed transmission cable linking Orkney to the Scottish mainland,” says Councillor Ian Johnstone, Chairman of OIC’s Development and Regeneration Committee.
“The fear of unnecessary cost to consumers is hampering this process, which is frustrating as we now know the investment would add less than £1 each year to the average electricity bill.
“It seems a very small price to pay when you consider the recent decision by one of the major utilities to increase the price of electricity by 10% – which for consumers will add £42 to the average annual bill.”
Neil Kermode, Managing Director of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), adds: “We don’t need to be locked into this fossil fuel dependency.
“When the cable comes it will allow the export of the huge amounts of renewable energy we know Orkney can produce.
“With the Council, we are calling on the Government, the energy regulator Ofgem, the National Grid, and SSE to fire the starting gun and get these vital transmission projects underway.”
The total cost of the upgrade would be £3-5 billion over the next 8 years. The Crown Estate says Orkney could provide 1 GW of electricity by 2020 from marine renewable sources such as wind, wave and tidal.
Kermode, concludes: “Many marine energy projects are planned for Okrney waters. If there are waves or tides at a site today, they will be there tomorrow. So the chance of this being a bad investment is practically nil. If one failed for any reason, it would be replaced wither by expansion of existing generation or by new projects.”
SSE is planning a 132 kV cable linking Orkney to Caithness, and the capacity could be increased even further by 2020.