SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has welcomed Ofgem’s announcement today that the 1.8GW transmission link between Arnish and Beauly will now be included in their list of ASTI (Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment) projects.

This means that the work to install the interconnector should be completed by 2030, though it is hoped that this could be brought forward further. The new link will have the capacity to accommodate all known onshore wind contracted to connect in the Western Isles, as well as the two ScotWind sites closest to the islands, and the provision to transmit energy generated by future renewables projects in the islands.

At the beginning of November, Alasdair Allan held a Members’ Debate in the Scottish Parliament calling for the Western Isles link to be included in Ofgem’s accelerated project list, given the importance the interconnector has for unlocking the renewable energy potential in the Western Isles.

Concerns had been raised after the interconnector project had not been included in Ofgem’s consultation on accelerating onshore electricity transmission investment, despite the National Grid’s Pathway to 2030 report noting that the Western Isles interconnector was “essential” in order to successfully deliver 2030 offshore wind targets.

Commenting following Ofgem’s announcement earlier today, Allan said:

“I am very pleased that Ofgem have now confirmed that the Western Isles interconnector will be included in their list of accelerated investment. As we know, the renewables potential in the Western Isles is enormous, and today’s announcement gives community and commercial renewables projects in the islands the much-needed certainty we have all been pushing for. It has been a frustrating business over the years, getting certainty about this project, and I hope that we now at last have some of that certainty.

“I would like to thank all those who responded to Ofgem’s consultation highlighting the importance of the Western Isles link’s inclusion in their ASTI list. It is clear that the engagement from local stakeholders has contributed significantly to Ofgem’s decision to recognise the importance of getting the 1.8GW interconnector between the Western Isles and the mainland as soon as possible.”

Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission, said:

“We are delighted Ofgem has approved the need for a 1.8GW link to the Western Isles as part of its decision on the Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment framework to deliver Government’s 2030 targets.

“After many false dawns spanning decades, today’s decision is a hugely significant milestone in finally unlocking the Western Isles vast renewable potential and importantly, provides the certainty we, our supply chain and Western Isles renewable developers need to take forward our investments.

“We would like to thank all those who have supported the need to provide a transmission connection to the Western Isles and we now look forward to working constructively with all stakeholders to deliver this long awaited and much needed investment, which will deliver significant local and national socio-economic benefits, as well as supporting 2030 Government targets, our future energy security and a pathway to net zero emissions.”


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