About the project

The multi-million pound project to reinforce the electricity network on the Kintyre peninsula in Argyll to Hunterston in North Ayrshire was developed by SSEN and SP Energy Networks, who owns the high voltage electricity network in the south of Scotland.

A challenging engineering and construction project, Kintyre-Hunterston was successfully energised in December 2015 with a total investment in the project of around £200 million.

Project elements

Delivered by a multi-disciplined and technically-skilled workforce, the three main elements of the project were:

  • New grid substations built in the forest at Crossaig on Kintyre and Hunterston power station on the north Ayrshire coast;
  • The replacement of 14km of 132kV overhead line connecting the Crossaig and Carradale substations;
  • The construction of a subsea cable connection between Crossaig substation and Port a'Mhidair. The cable is buried beneath the Kilbrannan Sound around the north of Arran before connecting again onshore at Ardneil Bay in north Ayrshire, a distance of some 41km.

Powering our community

Following the storms and snow that left thousands of customers in Kintyre and Arran without power in 2013, the Kintyre-Hunterston project has also provided the additional network resilience for these communities. The upgrade of the network has made it stronger for the many householders and businesses that rely on it, as well as providing renewable developers the capacity to build further generation.

An abundance of renewable resources

The area around Kintyre has an abundance of renewable resources and particularly lends itself to hydro, marine, solar and wind generation schemes - both large and small, including community schemes. In addition to providing more secure electricity supply to the area by strengthening the transmission network, it allowed the boundary capacity to rise to 420MW.

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. 

Document downloads

West Kintyre drop-in event information boards
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Related Projects: Kintyre - Hunterston

File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Carradale event information
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Related Projects: Kintyre - Hunterston

File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Project map
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Related Projects: Kintyre - Hunterston

File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Project summary
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Related Projects: Kintyre - Hunterston

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Published: 18 Aug 2016
Exhibition leaflet
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Related Projects: Kintyre - Hunterston

File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016
Exhibition storyboard
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Related Projects: Kintyre - Hunterston

File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Aug 2016

Local Businesses

SP Energy Networks
  • Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) is the distribution network operator for central and southern Scotland, Merseyside and North Wales. It is also the Transmission Owner for the south of Scotland.
  • Address: www.spenergynetworks.co.uk

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