Project Type: Windfarm connection
Location: Highland

Contact Details

Liaison Manager

Dav Lynch
Title: Community Liaison Manager
Telephone: 07918 404443
Address: Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ

Land Manager

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

About the project

The  Stronelairg wind farm connection project comprises of four key elements:

  • Construction of a new substation within the Stronelairg windfarm development to channel generated power via underground cable to new Melgarve Substation (complete)
  • Construction of a new substation at Melgarve, near Garva Bridge, to facilitate the connection of Stronelairg wind farm to the National Grid (in progress)
  • Construction of a new 10km 132kV underground cable  to establish connection between the new Melgarve substation and the new Stronelairg substation (complete
  • Modify a tower on the existing Beauly – Denny overhead line to facilitate a connection to the new Melgarve Substation (complete)


Developing and building our projects in the right way

Whilst the project is moving at pace, specific care and attention is being made towards ensuring the local environment is being protected from unnecessary disturbance or damage. Protection measures implemented to date include:

  • construction of deer fencing;
  • creating and monitoring of buffer zones to protect species such as Water Voles; and
  • building sediment traps to keep watercourses clear.

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 Stronelairg wind farm 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.

To visit the developers website, click here.

Progress gallery

Please have a look through the progress gallery to view the development of the project. If there are any elements of the project that you would like to see here, please get in touch.

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.

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.

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. 

Update to Laggan Community Council Liaison Group

Members of the Stronelairg - Melgarve Connection Project team last week met with the Laggan Community Council Liaison Group. The team provided an updated overview of the project, explaining that the tower replacement works, Stronelairg Substation (close to the windfarm near Fort Augustus) and 10km 132kv cable circuit connection the Melgarve and Stronelairg substation are now completed. The meeting also provided community members to raise any questions or issues they may have regarding construction with the project team.

Transformer Delivery

Two transformers are due to be delivered to Melgarve substation this week. Transformer 1 will be delivered to Spey Dam forestry track by Police Scotland escort at approximately 2100 hours on Friday 21 September 2018 and moved from the forestry track to delivered to Melgarve substation on the morning of Saturday 22 September. Transformer 2 will follow the same route and schedule, being escorted to the Spey Dam forestry track on Weds 26 September and brought to site on the morning of 27 September. Please note that the Strathmashie – Spey Dem forestry track will be closed to other vehicles whilst the transformers are stationed on both evenings. Site staff will require to use the Laggan Glen road during the dates outlined above, however there will be no large deliveries. We will have site staff present during all operations to ensure any potential disruption is kept to a minimum.

Removal of bridge decking at Mashie Bridge

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) will be removing the bridge decking at Mashie Bridge (located just past Strathmashie Cottages on the forestry track). Please see "Project Documentation" for further details.

Delivery activity

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) will be delivering a transformer to Melgarve substation today. To facilitate the installation, a specialist crane has already been delivered to site on Friday 24 November. These specialist deliveries are a complex and timely operation which will be under the supervision of Police Scotland and private escorts. To ensure that the deliveries are made safely, and with minimum disruption, traffic management systems will be in use on the route. Delivery Route Sat 25 Nov: Transformer will arrive at Strathmashie Cottages approx. 11.30am under police escort. The forestry track access track and General Wades Road will be closed for approx. 3 hours. Please note that there will be 8 crane support vehicles arriving on Sunday 26 November between 8.00am and 3.30pm. If you have any questions about the upcoming deliveries, please do not hesitate to contact our Community Liaison Manager, Jenna Black: Call: 07342 027725 Email: Post: Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ

Delivery activity

The Melgarve substation construction team are preparing for a series of important deliveries which are required to connect the Stronelairg wind farm to the national grid. Please see 'Project Documentation' for full details.

Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHE Transmission) plc will shortly be applying to The Highland Council for planning permission to vary the approved design of the Melgarve Substation.

Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHE Transmission) plc will shortly be applying to The Highland Council for planning permission to vary the approved design of the Melgarve Substation. An extension to the substation platform is required along with a new building to accommodate voltage regulation equipment. The additional equipment is required to ensure voltage regulation from the Stronelairg Wind Farm and to improve the stability of electricity on the National Grid. Indicative visualisation - (to be inserted here - attached) The application will be advertised on The Highland Councils planning portal ( and will be available for public comment in the next few weeks. Construction of the additional works will be undertaken alongside existing construction but the final completion date is likely to be later than the main substation works. Below is an indicative programme of works; • Anticipated start of ground works in January 2018 • Ground works complete late summer 2018 (July/August 2018) • Electrical installation commences August 2018 • Electrical installation complete by Summer 2019 (Jun/Jul 2019) • Commissioning and energisation from July 2019 – October 2019 There will be additional vehicle movements in relation to the works but we estimate approximately a 55% reduction in total number of vehicles compared to the existing Melgarve substation traffic movements. Vehicle movement estimates have been prepared ahead of planning submission and can be found on the Project website. The majority of additional HGV movements will be during the ground works period between January – July/August 2018 (dependant on planning permission being granted). Methods of contact - The project website will be kept up-to-date with project information at Jenna Black is your Community Liaison contact and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this project. Jenna can be contacted by e-mail, phone or post -, 07342 027725 or Jenna Black - SSE, Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ Thank you for your continued support to our teams who are working in your local area.

Re-Scheduled Delivery

The planned delivery of a transformer unit between Inverness and Stronelairg Wind farm on Sunday 6 August, has been rescheduled to take place on Tuesday 8 August. The specialist deliveries are a complex and timely operations which will be under the supervision of Police Scotland and specialist haulier, Allelys. To ensure that the deliveries are made safely, and with the minimum of disruption, a rolling road block will be implemented by Police Scotland and traffic will be able to pass with care under their instruction. Delivery Route Tuesday 8 August - Depart Inverness at 05:00 Travel via A82 to Fort Augustus Turn left onto B862 at Fort Augustus and continue onto Stronelairg wind farm site, arriving at approximately 08:00 If you have any questions about the upcoming operation, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Community Liaison Team.

Transformer deliveries

We are transporting 2 x supergrid transformers in stages over three weekends in July and August from Port of Corpach to Melgarve Substation. View the full details in our 'Project Documentation' tab.

Transformer deliveries

We are transporting 3 x transformers from Inverness to Stronelairg substation on Sunday 6th and Sunday 13th August. View the full details in our 'Project Documentation' tab.

Delivery activity

The Melgarve substation construction team are preparing for a series of important deliveries which are required to connect the Stronelairg wind farm to the national grid. The deliveries will include 10km of underground cables and two transformer units which weigh 110 tonnes. Please see 'Project Documentation' for full details..

A Walk on the wild side...

An exploration of the Spey Dam reservoir and the surrounding area with the Melgarve substation onsite Ecologist. Come and discover what monsters live in the Loch, find out if we’ve trapped any mammals and much more… please see "Project Documentation" for further details.

Cabins at Stronelairg

A unique feature of the Stronelairg site is the construction of a 70 bed camp with full catering facilities which will assist in limiting travel time to site and may also be a life line should workers become snowbound on the mountain. Camp set up has now been completed with the accommodation units occupied and the canteen having opened at the beginning of March. By mid April, there shall also be a broadband connection to provide internet connectivity to camp.

Strathmashie Road

Since meeting with community members and listening to their suggestions, the 10mph speed limit on the Strathmashie Road has been extended to the turn off from the A86 to ensure HGVs and other construction traffic is slowing on approach to site and past residential properties.

Construction commencement

Construction teams have begun mobilisation to both Melgarve and Stronelairg sites. This early phase will see the establishment of welfare facilities, delivery of equipment and the creation of secure material storage areas

Local Businesses

BAM Nuttall
  • BAM Nuttall is a leading edge supplier of civil engineering services, delivering quality infrastructure projects on behalf of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.
  • Address:
  • Siemens plc was established in the United Kingdom over 170 years ago, with office and manufacturing operations throughout the country. Today, the company employs about 14,000 people in the UK.
  • Address:
Global Infrastructure, Beauly
  • A leading contractor, Global Infrastructure provides Civil Engineering and Construction Services to the Utilities, Energy and Development Sectors.
  • Address:
Balfour Beatty
  • Balfour Beatty’s power transmission and distribution teams work with regional, national and international electricity network owners and operators to provide technical engineering solutions.
  • Address:
UB Civils
  • With our head office in Inverness and a presence across the North of Scotland and Western Isles, UBCIVILS Ltd have a proven track record of delivering projects for both private and public sector clients. Often working in challenging and remote locations our experienced and focused team have the capability to successfully complete complex civil engineering projects across a wide range of sectors.
  • Email:
  • Telephone: 01463 210334
  • Address:

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