SSEN Distribution’s new Grid Supply Point (GSP) at Gremista, which will see Shetland’s local electricity network connected to the main GB grid for the first time, has been granted planning permission by Shetland Islands Council.
The GSP is a key part of SSEN Distribution’s £99.8m overall investment, and will boost the reliability of electricity supplies for homes and business on Shetland as well as supporting the country’s drive to net zero, with a dramatic drop in carbon emissions as the community moves away from the current reliance on fossil-fuel generation.
Electricity is currently distributed on Shetland via SSEN Distribution’s 33kV distribution network, with the power derived from a mixture of sources – Lerwick Power Station (50% of total), Sullom Voe (30%) and renewables (20%).
Once the Shetland Islands are connected to mainland GB network via the new High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) subsea cable and infrastructure currently under construction by SSEN Transmission, the distribution and transmission networks will need to be connected at a new substation – this is what is known as a Grid Supply Point (GSP).
Lerwick Power Station, which currently operates 24/7, will move over to ‘standby’ mode until 2035 and will be used to supply power in the short term when outages are scheduled for maintenance on the transmission network.
While some of the skills required to construct the GSP will require specialist teams, SSEN Distribution is looking to use local contractors where possible ahead of work getting under way this summer.
Speaking of the consent, Mark Kelly, SSEN Distribution’s Project Director, said:
“The Grid Supply Point is central to Shetland being part of the GB electricity network - it’s where the Transmission network is connected to the Distribution network – and so we’re delighted that Shetland Islands Council has granted the necessary consents for such a significant project in the islands’ history.”
Mark Rough, SSEN’s Director of Customer Operations, said:
“This £99.8m investment demonstrates our commitment to our customers on Shetland, connecting to the main GB electricity network for the first time, helping to improve the reliability of day-to-day power supplies and lowering Shetland’s emissions in its transition to net zero.
“We recognise our important role as an employer in the local area and our recent investments in Lerwick Power Station will see it provide continued employment until 2035, alongside prioritising opportunities for local contractors in the construction of the GSP.