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Talks continue after subsea cable ‘disappointment’

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said yesterday, Thursday, that it is engaging with regulator Ofgem to try and find a funding solution when it comes to replacing one of the two subsea cables connecting Orkney to the Scottish Mainland.

The Pentland Firth East cable was identified for replacement after routine inspections found it was coming to the end of its operational life and a long-term solution was needed to maintain a safe, secure and reliable power supply to homes and businesses in Orkney.

In October, Ofgem published its decision to reject a proposal from SSEN to fund the £30m project. SSEN says it remains highly disappointed with this outcome and, concurrent with the cable replacement. In a statement, yesterday, the company said that it was “engaging with Ofgem to establish alternative mechanisms for the recovery of efficient expenditure related to the project.”

SSEN maintains, however, that it is otherwise continuing to make good progress with the replacement project.

According to the company, the marine survey was carried out by specialist contractor, Global, during September and October and was accompanied by a series of open-door events in Orkney and Caithness to give interested parties an opportunity to learn more about the Pentland Firth East project and comment on the proposals.

SSEN now intends to apply to Marine Scotland for a marine licence for the essential works in December, with cable production expected to complete by March 2020.  Installation of the 33kV cable, which will follow the existing route from Murkle Bay, near Thurso, to Rackwick Bay on Hoy, is scheduled to start in April 2020 with energisation later that summer.

For more information, please visit ssen.co.uk/subseacables/.

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