SSEN Transmission has announced the completion of its 18-month project to erect a new overhead line between its existing substation at Knocknagael, near Inverness, and its new substation at Tomatin which is currently under construction.  

Once the new line and substation have been energised, SSEN will also be dismantling the existing overhead line which runs between Knocknagael and Farr. 

Commenting on the completion of this section of the project, SSEN Transmission’s Project Manager, Joanne Seath, said:

“This project is required to connect new renewable energy generation in the local area, supporting SSEN Transmission’s commitment to enable the transition to a low carbon economy.  As well as facilitating the further decarbonisation of the energy system, the project will also help to strengthen security of supply for nearby communities.”

The project route rose to nearly 500m above sea level and, working in such a beautiful part of rural Scotland, it meant that everyone involved had to ensure that they didn’t cause any damage to the environment or disrupt the breeding habits of the local wildlife and birds. Regular engagement with SEPA, SNH, the Highland Raptor Study Group, and the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fisheries Trust ensured that any wildlife the teams came across, such as ospreys, salmon and water vole, were still able to breed without any interference from the essential work. 

At the peak of the project 75 people were working along the route, and Joanne believes that teamwork and communication between the various sites were key factors in the successful completion of the project, especially in some very challenging conditions.  She added: 

“In the winter of 2017-18 we had some very heavy snowfalls, which gave us some real logistical challenges, but an amazing team spirit and good communication between all the sites meant that we were all kept safe and able to progress the works.”

Throughout the project SSEN Transmission and its principal contractor MSVE were keen to engage with the local community and stakeholders to ensure that their presence caused the minimum amount of disruption. The project’s Community Liaison Group had several successful meetings, and project teams carried out a number of activities along the route to not only help keep disruption to a minimum, but also to help make a difference to the communities where they were working.   

Louise Anderson, SSEN’s Community Liaison Manager, said: “Engaging with the local communities, being upfront about our plans and listening to any concerns that may arise from these can make a real difference during a major project such as this.

“Both ourselves and MSVE have really enjoyed working with the local primary school pupils, where we’ve tried to bring the children closer to the project with talks, presentations and mini projects to give them a flavour of what we do on site. The feedback we’ve had from the schools has been really positive, and who knows, it may even encourage some of the children to think about a career in the electricity industry one day.”  

To watch a short video overview of the project with Joanne Seath, please click on the image above.

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