Following 21 months of work on site, SSEN Transmission and their delivery partner Balfour Beatty have announced the full energisation of Phase One of the new Inveraray to Crossaig transmission reinforcement project.

The existing Inveraray-Crossaig overhead electricity transmission line was built back in the 1950s and, after a long service life, was reaching the end of its operational life. The new replacement line is being built in two phases; Phase 1 -Inveraray to Port Ann and Phase 2 - Port Ann to Crossaig.

Now energised, this first phase is a key piece of critical national infrastructure, which will serve as one of the transmission network’s main arteries in the West of Scotland, the most significant electricity network project in the region in decades.

This complex engineering project has taken over 750,000 manhours to date to deliver, with a workforce of over 250 at the peak of construction. SSEN Transmission’s delivery partner Balfour Beatty has completed 100km of new and upgraded access tracks, 74 piled foundation sites, and 55 conventional foundation sites to enable the erection of 129 new overhead line towers along the 40km route.

Keith Inglis, SSEN Transmission Project Director, said: “The Inveraray Crossaig project is one of the most significant upgrades to the transmission network in the region since its original construction during the 1950s. Energising this new section of line ensures a secure supply of electricity to the communities the line serves whilst also supporting the transition to net zero emissions and a low carbon based economy.

“This has been a highly technical project, delivered in partnership with Balfour Beatty. The team has been professional, dedicated and has embraced innovation in order to find solutions to the challenges encountered during delivery of the works. Energising on schedule is a testament to everyone’s hard work and dedication, given the challenges presented by the Scottish weather, the environment and landscape, and the unprecedented challenges associated with the pandemic. We fully appreciate the efforts of Balfour Beatty and the wider supply chain, that have been key to reaching this major milestone”

“We would also like to thank the communities along the route for their interest and engagement throughout the build. This has been another key factor in the successful delivery of the project goals.”

Andy Smith, Balfour Beatty Operations Director, commented: “It has been a great privilege to support SSEN Transmission with this critical infrastructure project. Combining our unrivaled expertise from across the Group, we have successfully completed the substation as well as the associated overhead line activities.

“Building on Balfour Beatty’s deepening relationship with SSEN Transmission, we look forward to helping them supply electricity to communities across the North of Scotland both now and in the future.”

Following the success of Phase One of the project, work on Phase Two of the project, Port Ann to Crossaig, is now underway starting with enabling works including tree felling and the construction of the access tracks to facilitate the construction of the new towers.

Once complete, the project, will initially operate at 132kV with the capacity to be upgraded to 275kV in the future, forming a key part of SSEN Transmission’s Argyll 275kV strategy, which will see the network in the region reinforced to enable the connection of up to 600 MW of new renewable generation, playing a key role in the transition to net zero emissions.

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