Orkney-Caithness Subsea Cable a Step Nearer

wind-turbineAnother stage has been reached in the progress towards getting an additional subsea cable between Orkney and the Scottish Mainland. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), operating as Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission under licence, has submitted to the energy regulator, Ofgem, a Strategic Wider Works (SWW) ‘Final Needs Case’ .

The network reinforcement is required if the potential of Orkney’s Renewable Energy production is to be achieved.

The existing Orkney electricity network is at full capacity and no further generation can connect without significant network reinforcements.

Pending regulatory approval, SSEN’s proposed solution would deliver a phased approach to reinforcement, which will initially deliver a single 220kV subsea cable in October 2022, followed by a second cable of similar specification once further generation has committed and the economic case has been made for the further investment.

SSEN is  requesting a conditional approval of the Needs Case from Ofgem subject to demonstration that 70MW of generation has been committed to by developers.

Watch the Video filmed at an earlier information event where Greg Clarke explains the proposal.

Unlocking Potential Barriers

As part of its business case, SSEN is proposing an Alternative Approach to the current “first to contract, first to connect” arrangements to unlock potential barriers to connection.  The Alternative Approach, which is also subject to regulatory approval, would see capacity allocated on a “ready to connect” basis.  This will allow customers who are ready to connect to progress quicker; and ensure the new capacity is fully utilised.

Dave Gardner, Director of Transmission, said:

“After developing several proposals to provide a transmission reinforcement to Orkney over the years, submitting our Needs Case to Ofgem for regulatory approval is an important milestone.

“We would like to thank our customers, the Orkney community and other key stakeholders for working closely and constructively with us over the years, providing valuable feedback that has allowed us to progress the Needs Case and Alternative Approach submission.”

“We strongly believe our proposals for Orkney represent a strong and compelling economic case for reinforcement and the best possible opportunity to unlock Orkney’s renewable potential. We now look forward to working constructively with Ofgem as they review our submission.”

SSEN is currently consulting on the principles, development and framework for the proposed Alternative Approach to the reinforcement of Orkney.  The consultation is open until 12 March and can be found via the following link:


The network infrastructure required to provide the transmission connection to Orkney is currently in development and is subject to planning approval.  More information on the infrastructure project can be found via the following link:



Reporter: Fiona Grahame


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