There is a wide range of support available to communities looking to develop a renewable energy project.
In the Argyll and Bute Council area Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) are the grid network operators and any application to connect to the grid will be dealt with by them.
The type of grid connection you require will depend on the type of project you have.
** You are strongly advised to contact SSE as early as possible in the process to obtain their advice on the ability to connect your proposed energy generation as the network is constrained in many places for projects over 50kw - the SSE generation availability map gives more detail.**
Telephone contact numbers are available on the SSE Website.
Local Energy Scotland provide advice for communities looking to connect to the grid in their CARES Toolkit.
SSE provides a great deal of information and resources for existing and potential users of their network including maps of the 33kV, 132kV and 275kV lines and a map of the grid supply points together with indications of capacity. They have made available case studies with approximate costs of equipment and connection. Their leaflet My Generation also provides guidance as to the process to be used for different scales of development. You can also find out about projects in the Argyll and Bute area from SSE Power Distribution website.
Alternatives to Grid Connections
Grid restrictions in some locations are resulting in communities investigating storage options as an alternative or in addition to connecting to the grid, an example of this is the Gigha Battery Project where a new turbine is to be connected to a battery so that the maximum capacity of the wind turbine can be utilised. Scottish Renewables have published information on storage in their Energy Storage:The Basics which provides an overview of different storage options.
The Infrastructure and Innovation Fund can assist communities looking at innovative, local storage solutions, this could include looking at what options are available to use the energy produced on or near the site of generation. Highland and Islands Enterprise may also be able to assist communities where grid capacity is a constraint whilst Community Energy Scotland are also working on Local Energy Economies where electricity which is generated locally is used locally.
On the Island of Eigg they utilise a private electricity grid which provides electricity to homes and businesses on Eigg via wind, hydro and solar power with a diesel back up. Innovative solutions such as this may help Argyll communities generate their own electricity.
Local Energy Scotland also administers the Local Energy Challenge Fund which is supporting demonstration projects which match local energy generation with demand and consider innovative storage solutions. On Mull the ACCESS project is a pilot seeking to match energy generated from the community owned Garmony Hydro to demand from local homes and businesses.