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New renewable generation connections welcomed for first time in eight years

SSEN is now accepting applications for renewable connections for the first time since 2012.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has released additional capacity on the electrical distribution network and is set to lift an eight-year long suspension on new renewable generation in Orkney.

In 2009, SSEN pioneered and developed Britain’s first Active Network Management (ANM) system in Orkney.

At the cutting edge of smart grid implementation at the time, this successfully allowed the connection of 21.8MW of renewable generation to an electricity network that was at full capacity.

By 2012, the ANM system on Orkney had reached its limit and a suspension on connections was announced until significant network investment progressed between Orkney and the mainland.

While work has continued with Ofgem over this time to progress a Needs Case for a new 220MW electricity transmission link between Orkney and mainland Scotland — with conditional approval granted by Ofgem on September 16, 2019 — further development of the ANM system has also enabled SSEN to release additional capacity on the distribution network.

Andy Huthwaite, director of connections at SSEN, said: “We’re pleased to lift the suspension on new generation connections in Orkney.

“To date, the first-of-its kind ANM system has mainly been used by wind generation. However, storage, tidal and other generation technology has advanced over the last few years and presents a unique opportunity for a new mixture of generation on the islands.

“As the headroom available is limited depending on diversity in the generation mix and current restrictions to export, I’d encourage anyone who is considering applying for a connection to speak to our team prior to submission for guidance and advice on the capacity available and any limitations for new proposed connections.”

SSEN will be accepting applications from Wednesday, September 23.

Planning permission is no longer required for an application to the ANM system. To discuss a proposed application to connect, please contact SSEN’s account management team at commercial.contracts@sse.com.

For more information on the Orkney Active Network Management system, please visit ssen.co.uk/ANM/.