Project Type: Windfarm connection
Location: Moray

Contact Details

Liaison Manager

Louise Anderson
Title: Community Liaison Manager
Telephone: 07384 454233
Address: Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ

Land Manager

Tony Gill
Title: Land Manager
Mobile: 07775 812900
Address: 200 Ashgrove Road West, Aberdeen, AB16 5NY
Status: Project assessment

About the project

Elchies Windfarm Ltd have submitted a connection application for their prospective 99MW windfarm development at Elchies, which is located approximately 23km south-west of Blackhillock in Morayshire.

The connection will be a 24km 132kV single circuit trident wood pole overhead line connecting from the Elchies 132/33kV substation to the Blackhillock 132kV substation.

Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc (SHET) will also establish a new 132/33kV outdoor substation at Elchies windfarm site. 

 

Why is the Project Required?

As part of its statutory and transmission licence obligations, SHE Transmission has a number of duties including:
 
i) the development and maintenance of an efficient, coordinated and economical system of electricity transmission,
  
ii) to facilitate competition in the supply and generation of electricity, and
  
iii) to ensure that the security of the network is maintained as the demand and/or generation connections change over time.

Our Approach

Throughout the life of our projects, we aim to work positively with local communities and keep people informed about what we are doing. This is particularly important when we are developing a proposal and we want to understand what local people think about our plans.

We endeavour to take the time to discuss proposals with local community councils, encourage engagement from the wider community and listen to the feedback we receive.

We will do our best to answer any questions and address issues or concerns that are raised with us.

When our project progresses into construction, we will continue working closely with the local community to ensure that our work has as little impact on the lives of those living and working in the area and as many long term positive effects as possible.

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.

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. 

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

SHE Transmission 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 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 are 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.

Where is the Elchies Windfarm?

The proposed development is in the vicinity of the hill of Carn na Calliche, approximately 4 km west of Rothes village in Moray. It is located to the east of the existing Rothes I and II Wind Farms.

Why could you not wait until a real face to face consultation was possible?

We are working to a connection date for the Developer of the Elchies Windfarm and to ensure this connection date is met we have a tight programme which includes holding consultations on our preferred route and subsequently our alignment.  Holding a virtual consultation has allowed stakeholders to view proposals and have their say despite the wider constraints associated with COVID-19.

Can any of this line go underground?

Undergrounding the entire circuit has been discounted for a number of reasons. The main reason is for the maintenance of the line in the future. In the event of a fault on the line, the fault can be detected and rectified in a matter of days. However, if the fault occurs in an underground cable the time needed to locate and rectifying the fault increases and could potentially take months to fix.

Another reason cabling the entire circuit has been discounted is due to the footprint which would be required to install the cables. A trench, approximately 6m wide and 1.5m deep would need to be dug along the route. This would increase the potential to damage to local environment during construction.

It is acknowledged that further detailed environmental and engineering survey work will be required to find an acceptable alignment and design solution through this sensitive landscape and environment, which could result in a review of the preferred route option and or use of appropriate localised mitigation methods, such as underground cable.

What is the difference in cost between overhead cable and underground cables?

It is estimated that at transmission voltages underground cables are significantly more expensive to construct than overhead lines. The actual cost ratio will vary depending on the length of the cable section and number of terminations. The unit cost of short lengths will tend to be more expensive due to the high cost of terminating equipment. The following example is a rough guide based on a kilometre of transmission overhead line but with metal prices varying widely the actual difference will depend on the metal prices when the orders are placed, or a 132kV circuit typical cost difference would be between 4 and 8 times more expensive for a cable.

Will residents be compensated if overhead power lines/underground cabling corss over their property?

The project land manager would discuss the wayleaves process with any affected land owners should the selected alignment cross over their land. We are still in the very early stages of development at this stage however, our land manager would contact anyone the alignment affected to discuss in more detail.

Why can't the overhead line be routed through foresty and be disguised as much as possible and not march through open countryside close to houses and distilleries?

The option chosen is a balance of all factors be that engineering, environmental and people and we will look to minimise impacts on all of these. Any trees that are removed have to be replaced (as per Scottish Forestry policy) therefore avoiding tree removal is an important consideration. Where this cannot be avoided we will look to ensure sufficient mitigation is in place. This is likely to take the form of compensatory planting within the local area, in line with national policy requirements and SSEN’s biodiversity net gain commitments.

How much more capacity will Blackhillock substation have after Rothes and Moray windfarms are connected and thus how many more lines will be coming into it?

The connected and contracted generation that connects into Blackhillock are:

At Blackhillock 400kV:

• Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm (Connected)

• Moray West Offshore Wind Farm (Connects in April 2024)

At Blackhillock 132kV:

• Dorenell Onshore Wind Farm (Connected)

• Clashindarroch Extension (Connects October 2023) connects on to one of the existing two lines into Blackhillock 132kV from Dorenell Wind Farm. So whilst it is a new connection, it will not result in new overhead lines entering Blackhillock substation, it will utilise the existing overhead lines into the substation.

• Elchies Onshore Wind Farm (Connects June 2024), requires a new 132kV single circuit overhead line(basis of consultation).

The wider system upgrades that interface with Blackhillock substation include East Coast 400kV and North East 400kV Upgrade, neither project includes new overhead lines entering Blackhillock. (Full details of these project are available at https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/riio-t2-

plan/engineering-justification-papers/) The future of the Blackhillock site is dependent on both local and wider system need, this is predominantly the connection of renewable generation in the north of Scotland and the requirement for increased of north to south power flow capability. SHE Transmission continue to assess these requirements annually through the ESOs Network Options Assessment and through customer connection applications.

How will SSEN minimise the environmental impact this OHL will have?

The environmental sensitivities are noted and understood and further studies will be undertaken at the alignment stage to find an acceptable alignment that minimises potential environmental effects, including but not limited to ecology and landscape and visual amenity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following the online virtual public consultation that the project team held on the 8th and 9th of July and the feedback we received from this consultation, in the interest of engaging openly and meaningfully with the local community, the FAQ section of this webpage has been updated to include answers to various questions raised by members of the public and other interested parties. The FAQs can also be downloaded as a whole document by going to the project documentation tab.

Consultation Feedback

The feedback period for providing comments following our virtual consultation events that we held on the 8th and 9th of July has now closed. The project team would like to extend thanks to all members of the public who took the time to provide feedback on our proposals. All responses received will now be assessed and the proposed options adapted where necessary.

Consultation Document

You can find the Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection consultation document in the "Project Documentation" section of this website, titled ‘Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection Consultation Document Route Options’. The associated figures are also available for download. The consultation document and figures provide a summary of the route choices considered during the design process which has been carried out to date. The route choices we have considered are included, along with the reasons for our choice of preferred route. We will be seeking feedback from the members of the public and Statutory Bodies until 7 August 2020.

Virtual Consultation

SSEN Transmission has developed an online consultation tool, to enable the local community to experience the full exhibition from home on a computer, tablet or mobile device. The online exhibition has been designed to look and feel like a real consultation in a community hall, with exhibition boards, maps and the opportunity to share views on the proposals. Visitors will be able to engage directly with the project team, via a live chat function, where they can ask any questions they might have about the project and share their feedback on the current proposals. The virtual consultation events will be taking place as follows: 8 July 2020 13:00 - 15:00 & 17:00 - 19:00 and 9 July 2020 14:00 - 16:00 & 18:00 - 20:00

July 2020 Preferred Route Virtual Consultation FAQs

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 11 Sep 2020
Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection Consultation Document: Route Options

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 05 Jul 2020
Appendix 1 - Summary RAG Table

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Figure 1 - Corridor

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Figure 2 - Route Options

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Figure 3 - Ecological Designation and Constraints

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Figure 4 - Geology Hydrology and Hydrogeology

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Figure 5 - Cultural Heritage

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Figure 6 - Landscape and Visual Constraints

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Figure 7 - Landscape Character Areas

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Figure 8 - Landuse and Recreation

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Figure 9 - Forestry

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Figure 10 - Preferred Route

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 05 Jul 2020
Virtual Consultation Booklet - July 2020

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 17 Jun 2020
Virtual Consultation Boards - July 2020

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 17 Jun 2020
Route Options Map

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 17 Jun 2020
Preferred Route Map

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

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Published: 17 Jun 2020
Preferred Route and Environmental Constraints

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 17 Jun 2020
Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection Virtual Consultation Times

Related Projects: Elchies (Rothes III) Wind Farm Grid Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 17 Jun 2020

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