Orkney Islands Council's Leader James Stockan has responded to the news that UK energy regulator OFGEM has conditionally approved SSEN proposals to build a 220MW interconnector linking Orkney with the Scottish mainland.
Approval is dependent on at least 135 MW of new wind farm projects in Orkney either being awarded a Contract for Difference (CfD) or being judged 'likely to be developed' by December 2021.
'Likely to be developed' means that the project should be financially viable, have signed a relevant grid connection agreement and been granted planning permission.
Councillor Stockan said: “I am pleased that conditional approval has been given by OFGEM for a project of huge importance to our community – but disappointed that the bar has been set so high.
“We believe that 135MW is an excessive target and we lobbied hard to get that figure reduced.
“Achieving this target will pose quite a challenge for all involved – but it is a challenge we will do all we can to meet, given the enormous value to Orkney of having this vital new transmission link with mainland Scotland.
"A new interconnector will bring hundreds of millions of pounds of economic benefit to Orkney, supporting the existing renewable energy sector and securing the future development of the marine energy sector by putting the necessary infrastructure in place.”