SSE's Transmission business has received regulatory approval from Ofgem to develop and invest in a subsea electricity link between the Kintyre peninsula and Hunterston in North Ayrshire.
The primary purpose of the link is to connect renewable generation in Kintyre but the infrastructure will also provide a more secure electricity supply. Thousands of homes in the area were cut off in March 2013 when the transmission network was damaged by a severe snow storm.
The project involves the installation of a 41km subsea cable from a new substation on the Kintyre peninsula, running under the water north of Arran and connecting in to Hunterston. Associated works include a new 13.5km section of tower line in Kintyre, replacing an existing tower line.
Visiting the site in Kintyre to meet some of the local contractors on the project, Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute, said: “I am delighted that this project is now underway. This £200m investment by SHE Transmission is a significant landmark for the Argyll and Bute economy and particularly for the Kintyre Peninsula.
"It will be warmly welcomed for improving the security of supply to Kintyre as well as unlocking the potential for the areas renewable generation which is not only a boost for local communities, it will make a significant contribution to the Scottish Governments ambitious renewable energy targets.”
David Gardner, SSE’s Director of Transmission added: “The announcement from Ofgem signals another significant step in our plans to reinforce the transmission infrastructure in the north of Scotland. It is well known that major infrastructure projects can bring benefits to an area both in terms of local jobs and a boost to the region’s economy.
"We have impressed upon our appointed contractors the need to maximise the use of local business and services throughout the construction programme and have worked collaboratively on this matter."