Project Type: Windfarm connection
Location: Moray

Contact Details

Lesley Dow
Title: Community Liaison Manager
Telephone: 01738 455115
Mobile: 07876 837490
Address: Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ
Status: Early Development

Latest

Gary Callaghan - Blackhillock

Related projects

Blackhillock substation

About the project

The aim of the project is to provide a connection for Dorenell Wind Farm to the transmission network at Blackhillock Substation (near Keith).

The proposed connection comprises one double circuit 132kV composite “H” pole overhead line running over a distance of approximately 23 km in length. This is a new design with both sets of conductors on one line and therefore differs from the twin parallel single circuit wood “H” pole overhead lines that were originally considered and consulted on in 2015.

New design

The new design utilises composite “H” poles, which are made out of fibreglass/reinforced polymer and are grey in colour. These composite structures have been used successfully for the last 20 years or so in Canada, USA, Scandinavia and Ireland for transmission, distribution and communications networks.

Due to the way the electricity network in the UK has been developed there has been little incentive for Network Operators to do anything different than standard wood poles and steel lattice towers for the last few decades. Ofgem, the Government regulator for electricity and gas markets has recently laid out a framework to incentivise Network Operators to innovate, providing improvements in the security of supply and reducing costs for energy bill payers. The Dorenell Wind Farm connection has been able to take advantage of this change, enabling the project team to drive this new technology to bring environmental and cost benefits.

The new proposal brings the following benefits:

  • Composite poles are stronger than wooden poles, which allow them to support a larger sized conductor on one overhead line. Wood poles would require two parallel lines. This helps to reduce the visual effects of the overhead line and minimise land take.
  • Although they are taller than wood poles at 24 m in height (rather than 16 m), they will allow for a greater clearance underneath the conductors, allowing for agricultural machinery to continue to operate safely beneath the overhead lines.
  • A greater spacing between individual poles can be maintained, at a distance of approximately 180 m between poles, compared to 80-100 m for wood poles. When combined with the single overhead line design this will reduce the number of poles required for the connection by 75%, greatly reducing a burden upon the land. This will reduce the impact upon the use and operation of the land surrounding the overhead line.
  • The composite poles allow for a reduced construction programme. For this project the current programme duration is approximately 12 months overall.
  • A single line of composite poles has a reduced corridor width when compared to the double line of trident poles.
  • The composite poles are easier and cheaper to maintain and have a life expectancy of 80 years rather than 40 years for wood pole, meaning less maintenance visits.

Why is the project required?

As the transmission licence holder in the north of Scotland we have a duty under Section 9 of the Electricity Act 1989 to facilitate competition in the generation and supply of electricity. We have obligations to offer non-discriminatory terms for connection to the transmission system, both for new generation and for new sources of electricity demand.

The aim of the project is to enable renewable energy to connect to our transmission network. Under our Network Operators Licence this connection should be efficient, co-ordinated and economic, whilst having the least possible impact on the environment.

The data in this map is provided for indicative purposes only and may be subject to change. Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc do not accept responsibility for its accuracy, completeness or validity. The data should not be copied, reproduced or utilised externally without permission.

Who is Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks?

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks is the trading name of Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution Limited, Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc and Southern Electric Power Distribution plc.

How are Transmission network upgrades paid for?

Investments in projects are made by SHE Transmission plc. Electricity transmission companies are authorised to recover the costs of such investments through 'use of system' charges which are levied by National Grid Electricity Transmission plc on generators and suppliers of electricity. Suppliers recover their costs from all electricity customers. In order to protect the interests of customers, the transmission companies have to demonstrate to the energy regulator, Ofgem (Office for Gas and Electricity Markets) that proposed investments are necessary, are efficient and are economical so that the charges which are ultimately levied on all electricity customers are justified.
This means SHE Transmission is subject to a funding mechanism established by Parliament and regulated by Ofgem. Cross subsidies between different businesses in the SSE group is not permitted.

How are our proposals scrutinised?

The Scottish Ministers are responsible for determination of applications submitted under Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989. Both statutory consultees and members of the public have the right to submit their representations on the application. All representations will be considered by Scottish Ministers in their determination of the application.
The Office for Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), as the regulator, has to approve all investment so project proposals are developed under license conditions.
Preferred route corridors chosen will comply with revised ‘Holford Rules’ which are the recognised industry approach to routeing overhead lines amended to reflect Scottish circumstances.

What are The Holford Rules?

The Holford Rules originated in 1959 as the result of work by Lord Holford, a part-time member of the Central Electricity Generating Board (National Grid's predecessor). The Holford Rules have been augmented by both National Grid and SHE Transmission plc to reflect environmental legislation and best practice in recent years. We have continued to use them as a valuable set of guidelines for reducing the impact of our assets on landscapes.
The guidance recommends appropriate application of the Holford Rules to inform routeing. These rules advocate the application of a hierarchical approach to routeing which first avoids major areas of highest amenity, then smaller areas of high amenity, and finally considers factors such as backdrop, woodland and orientation. The Holford Rules apply the term ‘amenity’ to refer to environmental designations and classifications such as Natura 2000 sites, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, National Parks.
The guidance also recognises that the key effect of overhead lines is visual and it advises that the routeing of overhead lines should consider the types of mitigation (screening) that could offset any visual effects.
In their National Policy Statement EN-5, the Government has stated that the Holford Rules “should be followed by developers when designing their proposals.” Their use is therefore Government policy, rather than a voluntary choice of SHE Transmission plc.

How and to what extent are electricity consumers' interests considered?

We are regulated by the Office for Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), the regulator responsible for representing consumers' interests. Electricity consumer interests are therefore one of our key drivers and this is enshrined in our statutory duties under the Electricity Act.
In particular we have a statutory duty to develop, maintain and operate an efficient, economic and co-ordinated transmission system. Since the costs of these projects will ultimately be paid for by electricity consumers, we have a responsibility to take cost into account with due weighting in a comparison against other important factors.

What is the transmission network?

It’s the highest voltage electricity network in the UK – the ‘motorway network’ of the energy world. It transmits large quantities of electricity over long distances via wires carried on a system of mainly metal towers (pylons) and large substations. Transmission voltages in Scotland are 132kV, 275kV and 400kV. Larger generation schemes usually connect to the Transmission system.

The lower voltage parts of the system are called distribution networks. In Scotland, these local networks operate below 132kV whereas in England the distribution network includes 132kV. 

Section 37 consent

Paul Higginbotham, Lead Project Manager at SSEN, said: “We welcome the decision by the Scottish Government to approve our application to provide a connection from the consented Dorenell wind farm to the transmission network at Blackhillock in Keith. In our application for consent we identified and committed to environmental mitigation such as compensatory woodland planting and a detailed environmental management plan which will ensure construction impacts are minimised. We will now prepare for the construction phase and are fully committed to keeping the local community and other interested parties updated as the project progresses.”

Project documents

Leaflet - March 2015

Related Projects: Dorenell wind farm connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 06 Sep 2016
Information boards - May 2016

Related Projects: Dorenell wind farm connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 06 Sep 2016
Leaflet - May 2016

Related Projects: Dorenell wind farm connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 06 Sep 2016
Statement of compliance

Related Projects: Dorenell wind farm connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 06 Sep 2016
Information boards - March 2015

Related Projects: Dorenell wind farm connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 06 Sep 2016

Local People

Lesley Dow
  • Title: Community Liaison Manager
  • Email: lesley.dow@sse.com
  • Telephone: 01738 455115
  • Mobile: 07876 837490
  • Address: Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ

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