Speculation that a sudden drop in wind had affected turbines and produced a knock-on effect on the line between Moray and Inverness were dismissed at Holyrood, where finance secretary John Swinney declared he was “absolutely certain” that this had not been the case.
Updating the Scottish Parliament on what caused 205,000 properties to lose their power, Mr Swinney said that investigations had now traced the problem had been an electronic relay at a sub-station near Inverness.
Earlier engineers who had been seeking an answer to what happened for over a week had said the most likely reason for the power cut, which lasted from several minutes in Moray to several hours in other parts of the Highlands, was windy weather, lightning strike or even pollution.
Asked directly by Tory MSP Alex Johnstone if wind turbines had been the cause, Mr Swinney said: “I am absolutely certain it is not a contributing factor.
“I can say emphatically to Mr Johnstone that, engineering experience or no engineering experience, the comments that we have heard about the involvement of wind turbines are utterly misplaced in the analysis of the incident.
“It is believed the relay malfunctioned just before the outage last Wednesday, and circuit breakers identified a potential fault in the main network.
“These circuit breakers opened to protect the system supplying the north and west of the country from more protracted and significant damage.”