A ‘last minute’ rush as wind power generators raced to get their Grid connections before the renewables obligation subsidy ends on 31 March 2017 has resulted in a record year for connections in northern Scotland.
The electricity transmission network in the Highlands now supports more than over 4.5GW of renewable electricity following the recent successful connections of Bienneun (Blue Energy, 108.8MW) and Bhlaraidh (SSE Renewables, 108MW) wind farms.
The connection of the two wind farms, which were both delivered ahead of schedule, brings the total amount of renewable electricity connected in the north of Scotland so far this financial year to over 500MW, the highest combined capacity that has connected in a single year since privatisation.
In advance of the imminent closure of the Renewables Obligations Scheme at the end of the financial year, there has been an increased demand for Scottish Hydro to provide connections to its transmission network for renewable developers.
In the case of the combined Bienneun and Bhlaraidh, SSEN and the two developers agreed an accelerated delivery programme to ensure connection to the transmission system before changes to renewable subsidies come into effect.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), operating under licence as Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Plc, owns and maintains the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland.
Under its licence, SSEN is required to develop and maintain an efficient, coordinated and economical system of electricity transmission, ensuring that there is sufficient network capacity and providing a connection for developers who wish to export their generated electricity to the grid.
SSEN expects to connect a significant number of new renewable projects to its transmission network throughout the remainder of this decade, with enough contracted projects to more than double the current capacity of renewable electricity in the north of Scotland, subject to individual projects going forward.