Overview of Central Highlands Projects

The north of Scotland is home to some of the UK’s greatest renewable resources and has a key role to play in supporting delivery of the UK’s net zero targets. The central Highlands is critical to enabling the delivery of the UK and Scottish Governments renewable energy targets.  To take this power where it is needed, we are upgrading existing lines and, where required, building new overhead and subsea cable infrastructure. To be able to achieve the government’s targets this work will need to be completed by 2030, in line with our pathway to 2030 plans.

We have committed to deliver a new overhead line, reinforcement of the existing lines and new substations.

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Beauly – Blackhillock – New Deer – Peterhead 400kV Connection

Network studies have been completed demonstrating the need for a new 400kV overhead line between Beauly and Peterhead and connecting into new substation sites at Beauly, Blackhillock, New Deer and Peterhead along the way.

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New Blackhillock 400kV Substation (Coachford)

Providing a 400kV overhead line between these sites supports the delivery of the significant capability needed to take power from large scale onshore and offshore renewable generation (mainly windfarms) to the mainland of Scotland. From there, it will be transported to areas of demand.

To enable these new reinforcements, a new 400kV substation is required in Blackhillock and will connect Beauly Blackhillock New Deer Peterhead 400kV Overhead Line Project.

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New Deer 2 400kV Substation

SSEN Transmission has plans to construct a new 400kV substation in New Deer. We have undertaken system and technical analysis to ensure that our proposals meet the future requirements of the network. Currently due to insufficient bays available at the existing New Deer 400kV substation, the new station will enable increased generation in the North-East of Scotland to connect to the Transmission network.

The 400kV Substation project forms part of the ScotWind enabling Transmission Owner Reinforcement Instructions (TORIs), enabling renewable energy generation in the North-East to connect to the Transmission network.

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Netherton Hub

There is a requirement to develop a second 400kV substation and a second 132kV substation west of Peterhead. Furthermore, to facilitate the power transmission from new generators in the north of Scotland to the demand centres in England, a further HVDC link is required between Peterhead and South Humber. This doubles the export capacity of the existing scheme already in development between Peterhead and Yorkshire.

This further link is also interconnected with the HVDC link between Spittal and Peterhead, resulting in a DC network to allow for the high capacity of onshore and offshore connections required to deliver 2030 targets. An area of approximately 100 Hectares is required to facilitate the project with the aim to keep all elements of the project within the one site to help minimise impact to the local community. 

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Spittal – Loch Buidhe – Beauly 400kV Connection

We are reinforcing the overhead line network from Spittal to Loch Buidhe to Beauly as part of the wider Pathway to 2030 strategy. This reinforcement project spans a significant length of the north of Scotland and will involve the construction of a new 400kV overhead line connection, between the new proposed substations at Spittal, Loch Buidhe and Beauly.

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New Fanellan 400kV substation and Converter Station

A new 400kV substation near Beauly is needed for the connection of the Spittal, Loch Buidhe, Beauly 400kV overhead line and the Beauly, Blackhillock, New Deer, Peterhead 400kV overhead line. A HVDC (high voltage direct current) converter station is also required in the vicinity of the new substation site as part of connecting the Western Isles to the transmission network on the mainland. HVDC Converter Stations convert electricity from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC), and vice versa, for transmission purposes.

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Western Isles Connection

The Western Isles Connection project requires a long connection using submarine and underground cables to provide a 1800MW link between the Western Isles and the transmission network on the mainland, ultimately connecting into a new Beauly substation near to the existing substation at Wester Balblair.

The subsea cable from the Western Isles is due to land at Dundonell on the west coast of Scotland. From there, around 80km of underground high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable will be required from Dundonnell to the proposed HVDC converter station at Beauly, before connecting into the new Beauly substation.

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Beauly Denny 400kV Upgrade

This project will see the second circuit on the existing Beauly - Denny Overhead Line being upgraded from 275kV to 400kV, to connect new renewable energy generation to the transmission network in the coming years. On completion, both circuits will operate at 400kV and we do not anticipate any alterations to the existing overhead line in order to upgrade it.

The upgrade is driving the requirement for a new substation near Braco and Bingally to accomodate the 400kV equipment, as well as additional works along the route at Fort Augustus, Errochty, Kinardochy and Tummel.

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