Orkney distribution network opens to new renewable generation connections

Landscape scenic image of the Orkney Islands

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution has confirmed it will welcome new renewable generation and storage connection applications in Orkney from the end of this month.

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.

ANM systems link components which make up a smart grid, such as smaller energy generators and storage devices by implementing intelligent network management software to monitor and control the operation devices and the network to maximise the use of available 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 16 September 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 23 September. 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/.

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Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.8 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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