Project Type: Transmission reinforcement
Location: Highland

Contact Details

Liaison Manager

Kelly Scott
Title: Community Liaison Manager
Mobile: 07443 772 946
Address: Networks
1 Waterloo Street
G2 6AY

Land Manager

Kenneth Morton
Title: Land Manager
Telephone: 01463 728381
Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN
Status: Operational


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The aim of this project was to reinforce the existing Fort William GSP located on Achintee Road past Fort William FC, through installation of new equipment. This completed reinforcement shall facilitate new generation connections and improve security of supply for the area.


The project comprised of the following key elements:

  • The undergrounding of some of the overhead lines beside the site
  • Establishment of a new access to divert construction traffic away from homes
  • Establishment of a site compound and welfare facilities for the project team
  • Implementation of screening plans to reduce visibility of the substation
  • Delivery and installation of two new 132/33kV grid transformers alongside associated protection and control equipment
  • Dismantling and removal of redundant 45 year old substation equipment
  • Removal of the existing access



Why is the project required?

As the transmission licence holder in the north of Scotland we have a duty under Section 9 of the Electricity Act 1989 to facilitate competition in the generation and supply of electricity. We have obligations to offer non-discriminatory terms for connection to the transmission system, both for new generation and for new sources of electricity demand.
The aim of the project is to enable renewable energy to connect to our transmission network. Under our Network Operators Licence this connection should be efficient, co-ordinated and economic, whilst having the least possible impact on the environment.

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.

What are The Holford Rules?

The Holford Rules originated in 1959 as the result of work by Lord Holford, a part-time member of the Central Electricity Generating Board (National Grid's predecessor). The Holford Rules have been augmented by both National Grid and SHE Transmission plc to reflect environmental legislation and best practice in recent years. We have continued to use them as a valuable set of guidelines for reducing the impact of our assets on landscapes.
The guidance recommends appropriate application of the Holford Rules to inform routeing. These rules advocate the application of a hierarchical approach to routeing which first avoids major areas of highest amenity, then smaller areas of high amenity, and finally considers factors such as backdrop, woodland and orientation. The Holford Rules apply the term ‘amenity’ to refer to environmental designations and classifications such as Natura 2000 sites, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, National Parks.
The guidance also recognises that the key effect of overhead lines is visual and it advises that the routeing of overhead lines should consider the types of mitigation (screening) that could offset any visual effects.
In their National Policy Statement EN-5, the Government has stated that the Holford Rules “should be followed by developers when designing their proposals.” Their use is therefore Government policy, rather than a voluntary choice of SHE Transmission plc.

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. 

Energisation Completion

Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc are pleased to announce the completion of the energisation works to the transformer reinforcement at Fort William Grid Supply Point (GSP). The works, which involved the installation of two new 120MVA transformers, will allow for additional renewable generation connections to the network. The energisation of Grid Transformer 2 at Fort William GSP is a critical component in the Lochaber network reinforcement works programme and will be responsible for controlling all power requirements in the wider Lochaber area during the 2019 Fort William – Fort Augustus conductor replacement work.

Transformer Delivery

The Fort William substation construction team are preparing for the delivery of two 80 tonne 120mva transformers, a crucial requirement for the reinforcement of the substation. The first delivery is scheduled for Friday 3rd November, with the second to be delivered on Tuesday 14th November. In order to facilitate these deliveries, Achintee Rd will be closed between 02:00am and 08:00am on both of the above dates. This is to allow our delivery partner Siemens Bam to put in place a temporary over-bridge to protect the current bridge during the transformer delivery. Advance signage is in place and our contractors are working hard to ensure any associated disruption is kept to an absolute minimum.

Ben Nevis Hill Race

Our Principal Contractors Siemens-BAM, working on the Fort William substation reinforcement, were on hand to support the Ben Nevis Hill Race over the weekend. In addition to marshalling duties, Siemens-BAM donated over 1,000 bottles of water for those taking part on the day. Local doctor, Finlay Wild won for the 8th consecutive year with a time of 1.31.27!

Ground Investigation Works

Our Principal Contractor, Siemens-Bam, will be starting to operate in the vicinity of the existing substation to undertake ground investigations. The activity will be completed within one week and will involve an excavator and a small team of engineers. The operation is required to confirm ground conditions ahead of the main construction works commencing during the summer of 2017.

Highland Council Approve Proposal

Project Manager for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Jim Sandeman, said: “We welcome today’s decision by the Highland Council to approve our planning application for the reinforcement of Fort William Grid Supply Point. As a responsible developer, we have taken into account a range of technical, environmental and economic considerations whilst developing the project. As we prepare for the construction phase we will programme activities in such a way that any potential impacts to the local community are kept to a minimum.

Event Feedback

We would like to thank those who took the time to attend the information event on 12th July 2016 and contribute feedback. All comments and feedback received during the consultation period which ended Friday 29th July have been reviewed and considered ahead of planning application submission.

Local People

Kenneth Morton
  • Title: Land Manager
  • Email:
  • Telephone: 01463 728381
  • Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN

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