UK OKs 1.2GW Moray link for RE

UK energy regulator Ofgem has approved a 1.2GW subsea link spanning the Moray Firth in Scotland to move renewable power from north to south, and announced a shake-up of transmission charging.

Ofgem’s decision means Scottish Hydro Electricity Transmission (SHET) – a subsidiary of utility SSE – can move ahead with the £1.2bn Moray project, which is set for completion during 2018.

The regulator said the link between Caithness and Moray in northern Scotland is needed to “help meet Britain’s renewable target at a lower cost to consumers”.

SSE – which applied to Ofgem to build the link in April 2013 – said: "We will now work with Ofgem on the remaining details and focus on ensuring that the new link is constructed in a safe and responsible way so that the benefits it will bring in unlocking renewable sources of energy for decades to come are realised."

Ofgem also said it will shake-up its transmission charging regime in a way that “recognises that renewable generation uses the system less than traditional forms of generation and so imposes lower costs.

“The change will therefore more accurately reflect the costs that different generators put on the electricity network.”

The move follows a lengthy consultation by the regulator against a background of complaints by the renewables sector that the existing system discriminated against generation by wind and marine sources, which are often necessarily remote from population centres.

Ofgem said of the new regime, which takes effect from 1 April 2016: “The new arrangements more accurately reflect the costs of Britain’s diverse energy generation and will lead to lower costs overall for consumers.”