Project Type: Transmission reinforcement
Location: Highland

Contact Details

Lisa Marchi
Title: Community Liaison Manager
Telephone: 01463 728072
Mobile: 07825 015507
Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN
Status: Operational

About the project

A key Motivation for the Fyrish substation construction project (and also Loch Buidhe) is the requirement for reinforcement of the existing transmission network between Beauly and Dounreay. There are areas North of Beauly which possess a significant surplus of power, and it is vital that this can be transmitted southwards to the greater demand regions.

The new substation will house switchgear and transformers to support the upgraded overhead line and allow increased capacity for future renewable energy projects. Specifically, there is potential for wave and tidal generation in the Pentland Firth and Orkney region. In order to be ready for such potential generation connection, the network must be reinforced.

The connection of this new substation also requires some localised amendments to overhead tower arrangements. The reconfiguration of Alness GSP (Grid Supply Point) into a new 132/275kV Substation (at Fyrish) will reduce the burden on the existing 132kV OHL (Overhead Line) – whilst also improving power flows in the region.

This project is undertaken as a joint venture by Siemens and BAM.

Key Project Deliverables

  • 132kV Cable sealing end compounds
  • 132kV HV Cable
  • ‘Teed’ 275kV Double Circuit AIS Switchgear
  • 275/132kV 480 MVA Transformer Bays
  • 275/132kV 480 MVA SGTs
  • 132kV Double Busbar AIS Outdoor Substation
  • 1 Auxiliary/Earthing transformer, 1 neutral earthing resistor, 1 standby Diesel Generator
  • Control & Protection Building


Design Life

  • The HV equipment, above ground structures, control & protection and buildings will be designed and installed for a life of 40 years (subject to periodic preventative maintenance).
  • Civils work and foundation of new proposed structure will have lifespan of 50 years.
  • All electronic equipment installed as part of this project delivery, including both the hardware and software supplied, will be supported for a lifespan of 15 years.



Project progress

  • All earth works completed
  • Bellmouth and access road completed
  • Platforms built
  • Control building in place
  • Security fence in place
  • Mechanical and Electrical Installation works underway
  • Assembly of structures, switchgear and busbars on-going


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. 

Project Completion

SSEN are pleased to announce the successful energisation and completion of Fyrish substation. The new 275/132kV substation, which was fully energised in August 2018, allows increased capacity for future renewable energy projects and forms part of the wider reinforcement of the Caithness – Moray scheme. Project Manager, Andy McLaren said: “We are proud to announce that Fyrish Substation has now been successfully delivered both on time and under budget, with an outstanding health and safety and environmental performance. Throughout the project there was excellent engagement carried out with the local community and interested stakeholders such as the local primary and secondary schools, golf clubs and community interest groups. This was recognised at the Considerate Constructors Scheme awards where the project received the highest accolade with a gold award back in March 2017”.

Progress Photos

SSEN have been working with Cyberhawk Innovations Ltd to produce panoramic images of the progression of Fyrish Substation. These images, alongside other photographs highlighting the progress of the project can be accessed via the slideshow at the bottom of the 'project overview' page.

Transformer Deliveries

Both super grid transformers (SGTs) required as part of the Fyrish Substation have now safely been delivered to site. The first to be delivered left Invergordon Port at 05:00 arriving at Fyrish Substation at approx 08:00 on 08 September. The second transmission transformer also arrived on schedule at our Fyrish Substation today. Over the last few days our contractors have been working hard to ensure any associated disruption associated with these deliveries was kept to an absolute minimum.

Project Playground

Employees from both Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc (SHE Transmission) and our delivery partner Siemens BAM recently had the privilege of welcoming the entire Ardross Primary school to site; giving pupils an introduction into the work involved to construct a new substation. After a short safety induction to the site and a presentation about electricity, the children spent some time outside to see how we carefully consider the protection and improvement of the environment when working on its projects. Pupils were shown “bird scarers” that aim to deter birds from nesting in certain areas on site for their safety; learned about water management and the new sustainable drainage system (SuDS) pool; and were shown how SHE Transmission had taken and stored the soils from an existing pond on site until the area was ready for a new pond to be rebuilt with the original material. Andy McLaren, Project Manager for SHE Transmission said: “One of the most rewarding aspects of working on a project like this is having the opportunity to welcome members of the local community to visit and appreciate the scale of the construction activity going on in their area. “It was refreshing to see how interested the pupils from Ardross Primary School were in the environmental aspects of the construction, taking water samples and readings to check for pollution that could potentially be harmful to local wildlife. The highlight of the day for me personally was watching the children have the opportunity to sit in one of the diggers on site and have their picture taken. Some of them even commented they would love to work on a similar site when they grow up – that feedback is encouraging for us at SHE Transmission.” The pupils were escorted around the site, looking at the transmission towers, plant, machinery and overhead lines. Following their visit, the children drew pictures of what they enjoyed most during the day, and wrote to the team at Fyrish to thank them for taking the time to show them around. Pupil also took part in a competition to design games for their playground. The winning design will be painted on the playground surface later in the year.

Local People

Lisa Marchi
  • Title: Community Liaison Manager
  • Email:
  • Telephone: 01463 728072
  • Mobile: 07825 015507
  • Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN

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