Project Type: Transmission reinforcement
Location: Highland

Contact Details

Lisa Marchi-Grey
Title: Community Liaison Manager
Telephone: 01463 728072
Mobile: 07825 015507
Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN
Status: Project Refinement

About the project

Since the winter of 2010, we have been developing proposals for a new high voltage electricity overhead line in the Gills Bay area. The development has been prompted by requests from new marine generators to connect. There is no existing network in the area capable of accommodating this additional generation.

In order to provide the capacity needed, a combination of a new double circuit 132kV line and a 132kV underground cable is proposed between a new substation south of Thurso (Thurso South) and a new substation proposed at Philips Mains, south of Gills Bay (Gills Bay substation).

 

Project update

The Highland Council has objected to our s37 application for the Gills Bay Overhead Line project on the grounds of visual impact in January 2017.

The application has now been referred to the Scottish Governments Department for Environment and Planning Appeals (DPEA) who will allocate a Scottish Government Reporter to consider the application further. The DPEA will now consider the format and timescales for an inquiry regarding the proposals.

We will provide an update on the process and timescales for this inquiry in due course.

 

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.

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.

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 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. 

Project Update

The Highland Council has objected to our s37 application for the Gills Bay Overhead Line project on the grounds of visual impact in January 2017. The application has now been referred to the Scottish Governments Department for Environment and Planning Appeals (DPEA) who will allocate a Scottish Government Reporter to consider the application further. The DPEA will now consider the format and timescales for an inquiry regarding the proposals. SHET will provide an update on the process and timescales for this inquiry in due course

Highland Council planning committee objection

We are disappointed by the Highland Council North Planning Applications Committee's decision to object to the proposed Gills Bay transmission link and will carefully consider the issues raised and our options. The new infrastructure is needed to enable future phases of the MeyGen tidal generation development in the Pentland Firth to connect. As a responsible developer, we have worked with a wide range of stakeholders over several years to develop detailed proposals which balance environmental, technical and economic considerations. The route seeks to avoid impacts on important north coast landscapes and main tourist routes. On the inland route proposed, we have made efforts to minimise impacts on residential amenity, existing agricultural land use and key environmental features.

Document downloads

Non-technical summary of environmental statement - August 2015

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Addendum to planning application - April 2016

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Environmental statement main report - August 2015
File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Updated map following public consultation - June 2015

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Gills Bay exhibition June 2015

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Annex A - Maps - March 2014

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Gills Bay poster

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Gills Bay consultation report - March 2014 (Consultation Report)

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Gills Bay Exhibition Boards - September 2013

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Gills Bay Project Leaflet September 2013

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Published: 18 Aug 2016
Consultation Event Poster August 2013

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Gills Bay 132kV Consultation Document - July 2013

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Gills Bay Exhibition Posters -

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016

Local People

Lisa Marchi-Grey
  • Title: Community Liaison Manager
  • Email: lisa.marchi@sse.com
  • Telephone: 01463 728072
  • Mobile: 07825 015507
  • Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN

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