Tomatin substation marked a significant project milestone completing its first energisation in November. The substation located 5km outside the village of Tomatin, is part of the Knocknagael – Tomatin project, which includes the construction of a new 275kV overhead line between the existing substation at Knocknagael to the new Tomatin substation.

The substation connects new renewable energy generation in the local area. Supporting SSEN Transmission’s commitment to enable the transition to a low carbon economy, further facilitating the decarbonisation of the energy system, and strengthening the security of supply for nearby communities.

The site’s location, brought its challenges for the project team during the build. Battling the elements, constructing through two highland winters which brought heavy snowfalls. The construction of the substation required 130,000 cubic meters of earth fill, 17km of new and upgraded mountain road, the construction of 2 new HGV bridges, 25km of cabling and nearly 13 tonnes of bus bar. In total, it took 65,000 person hours from a team of nearly 200 to complete the build

SSEN worked closely with the community throughout the development of the project, following feedback during early consultations they were able to change the location of the new substation from a site close to the road to a less visible position in Glen Kyllachy. Working closely with the local community and stakeholders meant the project team were able to actively minimise the disruption to the local community during construction. This was facilitated by an active Community Liaison Group who held successful meetings throughout construction.

Strathdearn Primary School got in on the action during a high point of the build, completing a school project on the delivery of the substation’s two 320 tonne super grid transformers. The children’s project followed the journey the transformers took from the factory in Milan, travelling 4000 miles to the Highlands, making their way to site on110m long vehicles.

SSEN Community Liaison Manager for the substation, Louise Anderson, said: “The energisation of the substation marks the culmination of 19 months of hard work. We are pleased to have played our part in improving the infrastructure of the Highlands, helping to facilitate the transition to a low carbon economy.”

“We’ve had some significant challenges, but we couldn’t have asked for more support and understanding from residents in the area.”

“Close team-working between SSEN, our lead contractor Amey and the wider supply chain has been vital in dealing successfully with the many issues and interfaces involved. The result is the timely delivery of a substantial new piece of strategic infrastructure which will serve a vital purpose for many decades to come.”

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