Highlands & Islands

Fresh delays hit Western Isles subsea cable plan

The laying of a subsea cable needed to carry electricity generated on the Western Isles to the mainland has been hit by further delays.

Scottish Hydro-Electric Transmission Ltd, a division of SSE, is not now expected to complete work on the interconnector in 2019 at the earliest.

The date has been pushed back from 2015 because of delays in assessing the business case for the cable.

Construction of the link is expected to cost an estimated £780m.

The interconnector would export electricity to the mainland for distribution.

It would stretch to about 50 miles (80km) from Gravir on Lewis to Ullapool on the north-west coast of mainland Scotland.

There have been discussions about subsea cables linking islands energy projects with the UK mainland since 2001.

Western Isles Council - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - had originally hoped Shetl would have had the interconnector in place this year, but the project has been dogged by delays and increases in estimated costs.

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