Orkney Islands Council is calling for urgent talks with ministers after news that a new grid connection to export green energy to the mainland is being postponed until 2018.

A cable running from the west coast of Orkney to Caithness had been expected in 2016. But power firm SSE says the cable linking wind, wave and tidal energy developments in Orkney to the mainland will not be completed until 2018 at the earliest.

Now the council wants to meet the Scottish and UK governments as well as those in charge at SSE.

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The firm last week blamed the delay on problems securing planning consents, land acquisition, and, principally, constraints in the global supply chain for subsea cables.

Councillor Steven Heddle, said: "The electricity grid in Orkney is at full capacity –making a new cable linking the islands to the Scottish mainland of vital importance to a community widely recognised as having some of the finest wind, wave and tidal energy resources in Europe.

"The announcement that this crucial transmission link is being delayed has been met with understandable dismay in Orkney. This effectively shuts the door on connecting new renewable energy projects to the grid for many years to come."

He said the Pentland Firth and the seas around Orkney had been given international standing as a Marine Energy Park.

"The aim of this initiative is to drive forward the new marine renewable energy industry – so it is baffling to see this major obstacle put in our way," he added.