Transmission Connection

Orkney’s Energy Future

As well as generating significant income and community benefit for Orkney, Orkney Community Wind Farms allowed the Council to join other local developers in making a meaningful contribution to a Needs Case for a new interconnector for Orkney, which also supports the vital renewable energy industry in Orkney.

In June 2023, Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator, approved the need for a new cable. This followed a public consultation the regulator held regarding the proposals of the project and the need for an electricity link from Orkney to the Scottish mainland.

To approve the ‘Needs Case’ for the cable, the regulator required a total of 135MW of renewable generation to justify a 220MW cable installation.

Orkney Community Wind Farms will contribute nearly 90MW, which made an essential contribution to meeting Ofgem’s requirements for renewable generation.

The cable will also open up opportunity for the development of wave and tidal technologies which will bring additional benefits to Orkney including the creation of new jobs, upskilling our local workforce and investment from external sources.

Orkney Economy
£371 million to Orkney economy

Renewable Sector
£807 million with wave and tidal contributions

Scottish Economy
Minimum of £606 million and up to £1.48 billion for Scotland

What is the value of a new transmission link?

A report commissioned in 2021 looked into the potential long-term economic benefits of a new transmission link between Orkney and the Scottish mainland.

The report makes for interesting reading – with the key findings as follows:

  • A new electricity transmission link between Orkney and the Scottish Mainland would provide at least £371 million of economic benefit to the Orkney economy. This would rise to up to £807 million if the wave and tidal energy industry makes use of the cable too.
  • For Scotland the figures are a minimum of £606 million of economic benefit, rising to up to £1.48 billion.
  • Council projects could provide close to four times more benefit to the economy compared to privately-owned developments, due to the fact that they would be publicly-owned – and therefore the income would remain in the county.
  • The report also highlights the key role and added value that the cable would bring in facilitating further development of the marine renewable sector which, with a favourable structure in the upcoming Contract for Difference (CfD) auction and confirmation of a cable, would provide a genuine route to market for new wave and tidal projects in Orkney.

Those who’ve been following the progress of the project will know that the triggering of a new transmission link for Orkney is one of the key rationale for why we’ve been developing the project – alongside income generation to support local services and meeting Orkney’s carbon reduction aspirations.

The findings of the report demonstrate just how important a transmission link is to Orkney’s economic future, not only in bringing much-needed income to the county but also in retaining and securing high-value jobs. In this current climate crisis, this development is vital as we plan for our future and that of future generations.

The report also shows just how important our projects are in securing the cable – without the projects, to be frank, the cable would not have been approved.

This is a critical this piece of infrastructure for our islands – and Scotland as a whole.