Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has successfully energised the 132kV air-insulated equipment at Loch Buidhe Substation as part of the £1.1billion Caithness-Moray project.
SSEN has been building the new 132/275kV Loch Buidhe substation, near Bonar Bridge, since 2014. The first half was energised this week with the 275kV element now in its final stages and on schedule to be energised at the beginning of next year.
A video featuring SSEN Lead Project Manager, Daryn Lucas, provides an insight into the remote site which is situated within a European designated protected area.
The site recently received a silver award at the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) Awards as a result of several initiatives deployed by the project team. These have included the installation of electric vehicle charging points, gritting the local public road, supporting STEM projects within local schools and hosting nature walks with the local community.
Daryn Lucas said:
“We have just energised the 132kV part of the substation which is essentially half of the substation. It is now live and working as part of our network in the north of Scotland. It’s a major milestone for the project and is one of the first parts of Caithness-Moray to be energised along with Thurso South substation.
“The works on site started in October 2014 when we upgraded the public road from Bonar Bridge, which is about 7km of single-access track that needed widened and upgraded so we could take the weight of our transformers coming in and also the volume of timber going out.
“We have managed to tuck away a substation of this size away from view and most people around here. It forms an important part of the infrastructure as part of Scotland.”
Loch Buidhe substation is part of the £1.1bn Caithness-Moray project which represents the largest investment in the north of Scotland’s electricity network since the hydro development era of the 1950s and is the largest capital investment project undertaken by the SSE group to date. It is also the largest Living Wage contract ever awarded in the UK, demonstrating SSEN’s strong commitment to ensure all employees working on its sites get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.