About the project

The overall aim of the project is to reinforce the existing transmission network connections in the Argyll region, to enable renewable energy projects to connect to the GB transmission network and to ensure security of supply.

Why is the project required?

The existing transmission network for Argyll was originally designed to serve a rural area with low demand for electricity. Requests from renewable generation developers to connect to the network in this area exceed the current capacity of the existing transmission network, meaning a new transmission circuit is required to meet demand from generation developers and ensure security of supply.

 

Engagement

We have been consulting locally on this project (formerly referred to as the North Argyll Project) since March 2016.

The original proposals consisted of a new 275/132kV substation (Creag Dhubh) near to the existing Inveraray to Taynuilt 132kV overhead line, with a new 275kV overhead line circuit between the proposed Creag Dhubh substation and the existing Dalmally Switching Station.

We presented our preferred overhead alignment from Creag Dhubh substation to the existing Dalmally Switching Station during a consultation event in March 2018.

In recognition of the feedback received (and in combination with previous comments dating back to 2016), we committed to explore underground cable options and assess the potential for alternative overhead line options that would avoid crossing the Strath of Orchy. In September 2020, a consultation relating to the three options was launched to seek stakeholder views regarding the three options considered for the project.

Based on the feedback received through its consultation, in particular from statutory stakeholders, our preferred option has been identified as number three.  This option addresses a number of concerns that local community members had raised about the visual and cumulative impacts of connecting to the existing network infrastructure in Dalmally.  It also avoids the significant environmental challenges associated with the undergrounding option, which presented a significant risk of pollution to Loch Awe, due to the risk of local watercourses flooding in the area.

The Creag Dhubh–Dalmally project is part of a wider strategy to upgrade the main transmission network across Argyll to 275kV to support the growth in renewables across the region and the transition to net zero emissions, supporting UK and Scottish Government climate change targets. 

Project Visualisations

In partnership with our consultants 3DWebtech, we have recently created a visualisation video which will allow stakeholders to view a 3D visualisation of the Creag Dhubh - Dalmally project in the local area, we hope that this will aid understanding of the project and increase transparency. 

The data in this map is provided for indicative purposes only and may be subject to change. Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc do not accept responsibility for its accuracy, completeness or validity. The data should not be copied, reproduced or utilised externally without permission.

Who is Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks?

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks is the trading name of Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution Limited, Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc and Southern Electric Power Distribution plc.

How are Transmission network upgrades paid for?

Investments in projects are made by SHE Transmission plc. Electricity transmission companies are authorised to recover the costs of such investments through 'use of system' charges which are levied by National Grid Electricity Transmission plc on generators and suppliers of electricity. Suppliers recover their costs from all electricity customers. In order to protect the interests of customers, the transmission companies have to demonstrate to the energy regulator, Ofgem (Office for Gas and Electricity Markets) that proposed investments are necessary, are efficient and are economical so that the charges which are ultimately levied on all electricity customers are justified.


This means SHE Transmission is subject to a funding mechanism established by Parliament and regulated by Ofgem. Cross subsidies between different businesses in the SSE group is not permitted.

How are proposals scrutinised?

The Scottish Ministers are responsible for determination of applications submitted under Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989. Both statutory consultees and members of the public have the right to submit their representations on the application. All representations will be considered by Scottish Ministers in their determination of the application.
The Office for Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), as the regulator, has to approve all investment so project proposals are developed under license conditions.
Preferred route corridors chosen will comply with revised ‘Holford Rules’ which are the recognised industry approach to routeing overhead lines amended to reflect Scottish circumstances.

How and to what extent are electricity consumers' interests considered?

SHE Transmission are regulated by the Office for Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), the regulator responsible for representing consumers' interests. Electricity consumer interests are therefore one of our key drivers and this is enshrined in our statutory duties under the Electricity Act.


In particular we have a statutory duty to develop, maintain and operate an efficient, economic and co-ordinated transmission system. Since the costs of these projects will ultimately be paid for by electricity consumers, we have a responsibility to take cost into account with due weighting in a comparison against other important factors.

What is the transmission network?

It’s the highest voltage electricity network in the UK – the ‘motorway network’ of the energy world. It transmits large quantities of electricity over long distances via wires carried on a system of mainly metal towers (pylons) and large substations. Transmission voltages in Scotland are 132kV, 275kV and 400kV. Larger generation schemes usually connect to the Transmission system.

The lower voltage parts of the system are called distribution networks. In Scotland, these local networks operate below 132kV whereas in England the distribution network includes 132kV. 

Argyll Regional Webinar 2022

Please click to view our 2022 Argyll and Bute regional webinar where some of the SSEN team have given an overview of ongoing and upcoming projects across the area.

Submission of our Initial Needs Case for the Argyll and Kintyre 275kV Strategy

We have submitted to the energy regulator, Ofgem, robust proposals to reinforce the Argyll transmission network from 132kV to 275kV operation. At an estimated cost of around £400m, this investment is being taken forward as part of the SSE Group’s Net Zero Acceleration Programme, which will see £12.5bn invested in the five years to 2026, or £7m every day. SSEN Transmission alone expects to invest around £4bn over this period as it delivers a network for net zero emissions. The Argyll 275kV strategy is required to support the connection of several new renewable electricity generation schemes across Argyll and to transport that power to areas of demand across Scotland and beyond. It will support the connection of at least 560MW of new renewable electricity generation, enough to power more than 500,000 homes.
Read more

Update on Section 37 Application

SSEN Transmission are due to apply for consent under Section 37 of The Electricity Act 1989, to install a 275kV overhead line between our new Creag Dhubh Substation and a tee point on the existing Scottish Power overhead line near Succoth Glen in April 2022. We will also submit our Town and Country Planning application to Argyll and Bute Council for the Creag Dhubh Substation during this period. The proposed overhead line is being submitted following extensive consultation and feedback from the local community and wider stakeholders over several years which has led to significant changes in the project’s design. Our proposals have been carefully designed so that views of the infrastructure are filtered and screened by forestry and topography where possible, with much of the alignment backdropped against woodland and hills to reduce its visual impact. We have also moved the line to bring it further away from residential properties and key viewpoints. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic we were unable to carry out in-person public events during 2020/2021. Instead, we held virtual consultations, where we created an online exhibition including live chat sessions with the project team. These events took place in the summers of 2020 and 2021. Following requests from the local community and with the restrictions temporarily lifted our project team were able to come and meet with the community in Dalmally in October 2021 to answer questions and give further information on the project. Whilst we acknowledge there will inevitably be an impact from the development of any new infrastructure, we firmly believe we have struck a fair balance between responding to community and stakeholder feedback, including minimising landscape and visual impacts where possible; protecting the local environment and avoiding national designations in the area; and minimising costs to the GB consumer who will ultimately pay for this critical national infrastructure through their energy bills. We remain committed to continue to work constructively and openly with the local community and wider stakeholders as we take forward this project, which is key to support the transition to net zero emissions. As part of this we plan on holding an information event to share visualisations and answer any queries the local community may have in the coming weeks – we will share details once a viable date and location has been confirmed. In the meantime we will notify you once our applications have been submitted for consent and provide details on how you can make representations during this time. We will also continue to engage closely with local stakeholders during the project planning application process. Section 37 applications are submitted and approved by Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit. Our Town and Country Planning Application will be submitted to Argyll and Bute Council for approval. Should you have any questions relating to the development proposals, please do not hesitate to contact the Community Liaison Manager: caitlin.quinn@sse.com for further information.

Drop-In Event Postponed

SSEN Transmission were due to hold an Information Event taking place at Dalmally Community Centre on Tuesday 23rd of November, however we have made the difficult decision to postpone this session due to the outbreak of Covid19 currently affecting the local community. We understand that this was a keenly anticipated meeting, however, our primary concern is the safety of the residents of Dalmally and our colleagues. We will monitor the situation and re-arrange for a more suitable time in the near future.

Project Visualisations

In partnership with our consultants 3DWebtech, we have recently created a visualisation portal which will allow stakeholders to view 3D visualisations of the Creag Dhubh - Dalmally project in the local area, which we hope will aid understanding of the project and increase transparency. Whilst there are some instructions on how to navigate within the portal itself, 3DWebtech have also created a simple interactive portal user guide to further assist with navigation, available from the Project Overview tab. To view the portal, please copy and paste the following link in to your browser: https://3dwtech.co.uk/dashboard/ssen/argyll-kintyre-strategy/exhibition/

Argyll and Bute Information Sharing Webinar

n Wednesday 17th March 2021, SSEN Transmission hosted an Argyll and Bute Information Sharing Webinar, to provide local stakeholders with an interest in future electricity network plans for Argyll and Bute the chance to join us to hear about our stakeholder-led plans for the future and receive an update on the current construction and operation activities in the region. For those who were unable to attend, we have uploaded a recording of the session which you can view by clicking on the adjacent video.

Report on Consultation

We would like to thank all of those who took part in our recent public consultation for taking the time to complete a feedback form to share their thoughts on the 3 options presented for the Creag Dhubh to Dalmally 275kV Connection project. We have collated the feedback we have received from local stakeholders and statutory consultees via the virtual consultation events, feedback forms, emails, calls and meetings. We have now published the outcome of this feedback, in our report on consultation that can be viewed from the Project Documentation page. Based on the feedback received during consultation, in particular from statutory stakeholders, SSEN Transmission can confirm its preferred option is number three; an alternative overhead line connection location east of Dalmally and new switching station, avoiding the need to connect to the existing Dalmally substation. This option addresses a number of concerns that local community members had raised about the visual and cumulative impacts of connecting to the existing network infrastructure in the Strathy of Orchy. It also avoids the significant environmental challenges associated with the undergrounding option, which presented a significant risk of pollution to Loch Awe due to the risk of flooding of local watercourses in the area. Over winter we will carry out detailed assessments on option 3 and will seek to find a favourable alignment, taking into consideration the community feedback, environmental and construction challenges and the on-going maintenance of the line, once operational. During this time, we will continue to engage with local stakeholders and statutory consultees and seek feedback. Although the current consultation period is closed, we would still like to hear from anyone who is interested in finding out more about the project or would like to discuss the next stage of the development process.

Autumn 2019 - Project Update

Following on from our previous update confirming Balfour Beatty as our design contractor appointed to carry out further in-depth feasibility studies for the proposed North Argyll project, SHE Transmission can now confirm that Balfour Beatty have completed these studies which involved investigative ground survey works, engagement with supply chain specialists and provision of outline cable design parameters for potential routes from the vicinity of the Duncan Ban monument to Dalmally switching station where undergrounding is being explored. Now that the studies have been concluded, we are currently in the process of internal review, considering the outputs against engineering, environmental and economic criterium and conducting further analysis which is anticipated to be completed in the upcoming weeks.

Contractor Appointed for Feasability Works

We are pleased to confirm the appointment of our design contractor, Balfour Beatty, to carry out further in-depth feasibility studies for the proposed North Argyll Transmission Reinforcement. The initial focus will be to conduct further in-depth studies of the proposed cable alignment. This includes investigative ground survey works from the vicinity of the Duncan Ban monument to Dalmally switching station where undergrounding is being explored. The commitment to explore the feasibility of undergrounding follows feedback and consultation with local stakeholders on options for the proposed project’s design. We will also be progressing surveys and ground investigation works along the remaining section of the alignment to the proposed Creag Dhubh substation where it is progressing a proposed overhead solution.

July 2018 - Project Update

Following our most recent consultation events in March this year, we have been busy reviewing all feedback received from the community and other stakeholders, as we continue to take forward the North Argyll project. In early May, following the conclusion of the consultation, we issued a press release confirming our intention to further explore undergrounding in places of particular local sensitivity, where it can be demonstrated to be technically and environmentally feasible, as well as economic to GB bill payers who will ultimately pay for the proposed reinforcement through their electricity bills. We have recently been active in this area, carrying out further walkover surveys with our environmental consultant and internal engineers ahead of engaging a specialist design and build contractor to further develop these possibilities, focussing on the area between the road to the Duncan Ban monument and the Dalmally substation. We aim to conclude final technical solution proposals by quarter 1 of next year. Considering the above and the timescales required to complete this work, we have an amended timeline for the project, still retaining the required completion date of October 2023 but with a revised date for submission of a consent application in quarter one 2020. Whilst this will result in a more intense construction phase it will allow us to develop and consider the further design studies being undertaken. We have also been working to complete our Report on Consultation which we expect to publish on the project website within the next few weeks. The purpose of this report is to inform stakeholders of how comments made during the Alignment Consultation have been responded to by SHE Transmission, prior to a request to Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit for an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Scoping Opinion. Due to the main focus of the Alignment Consultation being the alignment of an overhead line, the Report on Consultation naturally references an overhead line solution. It is important to emphasise that underground cabling options are still being assessed and we have therefore not yet determined our proposed final solution. We will also shortly publish additional Frequently Asked Questions, providing answers to project specific questions posed to us during the consultation events. We remain committed to engaging openly and meaningfully with the local community, elected representatives and other stakeholders as we continue to take forward the project and would like to thank the community for their constructive engagement and feedback to date.

Further Underground Cable Feasability Study

In line with feedback recieved regarding the strong feeling in the Dalmally area about the potential for overhead transmission infrastructure, SSEN will be continuing to explore the feasability of undergrounding in areas of particular concern. To read more, please see the press release accessable via the following link: https://www.ssen-transmission.co.uk/news-views/articles/2018/5/ssen-to-take-forward-further-undergrounding-studies-following-feedback-received-during-north-argyll-consultation/

Consultation Deferment

Local community members may be aware that Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks had intended to hold public consultation events commencing from Monday 15th January 2018. Whilst the requirements for the reinforcements still exist, due to uncertainty surrounding key drivers we have decided to review the proposed delivery timescales. We have therefore taken the decision to defer the consultation events that were due to take place next week whilst we undertake this review. We anticipate that the events will be rescheduled for the next few months and will be sure to inform the community as soon as new dates are confirmed.

Document downloads

Dalmally Community Letter
S37 update

Related Projects: Creag Dhubh - Dalmally 275kV Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 10 May 2022
Creag Dhubh Substation - Pre-Application Consultation Report - November 2021

Related Projects: Creag Dhubh - Dalmally 275kV Connection, Argyll and Kintyre 275kV Strategy

File Type: pdf
Published: 23 Nov 2021
Creag Dhubh - Dalmally 275kV Connection - Report on Consultation - November 2021

Related Projects: Creag Dhubh - Dalmally 275kV Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 17 Nov 2021
Community Q&A Document 21 Oct 2021
File Type: pdf
Published: 21 Oct 2021
Dalmally Community Centre Meeting - October 2021 - Slides
File Type: pdf
Published: 08 Oct 2021
Creag Dhubh to Dalmally 275 kV Connection_EIA_Scoping_Report
File Type: pdf
Published: 12 Oct 2021
Creag Dhubh - Dalmally -Consultation Document - June 2021

Related Projects: Creag Dhubh - Dalmally 275kV Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 01 Jul 2021
Argyll and Kintyre 275kV Strategy Consultation Brochure - July 2021
File Type: pdf
Published: 30 Jun 2021
Argyll and Kintyre 275kv Strategy - Consultation Poster - June 2021
File Type: pdf
Published: 30 Jun 2021
Argyll and Bute Information Sharing Webinar - March 21 - Slide Deck
File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Mar 2021
Report on Consultation Creag Dhubh to Dalmally 275kV Connection November 2020
File Type: pdf
Published: 06 Nov 2020
Option 1 Map - September 2020

Related Projects: Creag Dhubh - Dalmally 275kV Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 28 Aug 2020
Option 2 Map - September 2020
File Type: pdf
Published: 28 Aug 2020
Option 3 Map - September 2020

Related Projects: Creag Dhubh - Dalmally 275kV Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 28 Aug 2020
Project Overview Map (All Options) - September 2020
File Type: pdf
Published: 28 Aug 2020
Creag Dhubh to Dalmally 275kV Connection - Consultation Document 2020

Related Projects: Creag Dhubh - Dalmally 275kV Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 31 Aug 2020
Virtual Consultation Boards - September 2020

Related Projects: Creag Dhubh - Dalmally 275kV Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 28 Aug 2020
Creag Dhubh to Dalmally - Virtual Consultation Poster - Aug 2020
File Type: pdf
Published: 17 Aug 2020
Understanding Argyll and Bute’s Future Energy Ambitions Seminar Slides
File Type: pdf
Published: 07 Apr 2021
Consultation Booklet - September 2020
File Type: pdf
Published: 17 Aug 2020
Consultation Booklet - March 2018
File Type: pdf
Published: 08 Jul 2020
Alignment Consultation Document - Creag Dhubh substation to Dalmally substation 275kV Overhead Line - 2018

Related Projects: Creag Dhubh - Dalmally 275kV Connection

File Type: pdf
Published: 01 Sep 2020
Frequently Asked Questions - 2018
File Type: pdf
Published: 08 Jul 2020
Cabling Update Presentation - January 2018 - Dalmally Community Centre
File Type: pdf
Published: 11 Oct 2021
Virtual Consultation User Guide 2020
File Type: pdf
Published: 01 Sep 2020
Consultation Booklet - October 2016
File Type: pdf
Published: 08 Jul 2020
Consultation Booklet - March 2016
File Type: pdf
Published: 08 Jul 2020
North Argyll Substation Options Appraisal with Figures - ASH, 2015
File Type: pdf
Published: 31 Mar 2022

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