Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD), the electricity network
operator, is establishing a Western Isles renewable energy steering group.
The group, which will include representatives from the Comhairle, developers and
Community Energy Scotland, will explore opportunities for making best use of the
existing electricity network and for connecting additional renewables on the islands
ahead of network reinforcement.
It has been widely recognised for some time that there is a need to reinforce the
electricity transmission network to allow the connection of large-scale renewable
developments on the islands.
New drive to examine Western Isles grid connection problems
4 June 2015
Until recently, smaller-scale projects and micro renewables were unaffected by constraints
on the network.
With over 44MW of renewables having been connected over the past ten years, the local
distribution network is now at capacity which means that SSEPD must now take action
to protect the network for all electricity users in the Western Isles, both energy
customers and existing generators.
Mark Rough, SSEPD’s Director of Commercial, said: “Over the past few years we have
connected a significant amount of renewables in the islands but to continue to do
so could compromise security of supply to our customers.
"SSEPD has an obligation to all electricity users to ensure that we operate a safe,
efficient and reliable network and so we intend to work closely with local stakeholders
to consider alternative connection options for the future.
“We look forward to working together with the Comhairle, communities, developers
and renewables groups to explore the opportunities and bring forward some bespoke
solutions tailored to the individual requirements of the developers in the Western
The delivery of the HVDC link, currently proposed by December 2020, will resolve
the current capacity issues on the Western Isles.
Until network is reinforced, SSEPD said it is committed to working together with
the Comhairle, communities, developers and other stakeholders to look at alternative
and innovative ways by which to connect additional renewables in the islands.
It is proposed that the steering group will consider potential solutions such as
active network management, demand-side management and other innovative solutions
which will allow additional renewables to be connected.
SSEPD says it is committed to developing solutions and building a business case for
continued network investment to support the growth of renewable generation in the