Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Transmission has welcomed the decision by Scottish Ministers to grant consent for the replacement of the Inveraray-Crossaig overhead electricity transmission power line. The existing line, which was installed back in the 1950s, is reaching the end of its operational life and the new line is required to maintain a safe and secure electricity network for the Argyll and Kintyre communities.
The new line, which will initially operate at 132kV, will have the capacity to be upgraded to 275kV in the future, subject to the requirement to upgrade the lines voltage. This would also trigger additional investments and upgrades to substations and other elements of the network in the area. Increasing the voltage to 275kV would provide additional capacity to support potential increases in electricity demand and accommodate new forms of renewable electricity generation across the region.
As part of its consent decision, the Scottish Government has attached a number of conditions, including the requirement for SSEN Transmission to submit details of proposed landscape mitigation, which will include tree planting, to help mitigate local landscape impacts of the project at both the Crinan Canal and where the line passes Tarbert.
Commenting on the consent decision, Lead Project Manager, Ian Clark, said:
"We are pleased the Scottish Government has provided consent for the replacement of the Inveraray-Crossaig transmission line. The existing line has served the local communities well since its installation over 60 years ago, but as this critical national infrastructure is reaching the end of its operational life, it is essential that it is replaced to maintain security of supply in the region.
"The communities in Argyll, Kintyre and Arran will remember the heavy snow storm in spring 2013 which resulted in significant damage to the existing line, resulting in a prolonged outage for a number of customers in the region. Whilst faults of this nature are thankfully extremely rare, this essential investment will strengthen the security of supply to those communities, greatly reducing the risk of similar damage and faults in the future.
"We now look forward to working closely with the local communities and other interested parties throughout the construction phase and as a responsible developer, we will do everything we can to keep disruption to an absolute minimum."
The construction phase of the project will be split into two phases, the first runs from Inveraray to Port Ann, with work on the section scheduled to begin in the coming months. This first phase is expected to be complete towards the end of 2021. The second phase, from Port Ann to Crossaig, is expected to begin construction in 2021 and is due to be completed in summer 2024.
To find out more about the project, please visit the dedicated project webpage: https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/projects/inveraray-crossaig.