North East 400 kV Reinforcement Works
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), operating as Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc (SHET) under licence, has plans to reinforce the existing 275 kV overhead line connecting the substations at Blackhillock, Keith, Kintore and Peterhead to enable operation at an increased voltage of 400 kV. The reinforcement works would involve replacing the insulators and fittings on the existing steel lattice towers, as well as reconfiguring a short section of the overhead line to divert it out of Keith substation. The works may also include replacing the existing conductors strung along the overhead line route, depending on the outcome of condition assessments which are currently underway.
These reinforcement works are required to allow increased generation capacity to the transmission system, while keeping the network fully operable and compliant with all necessary technical standards. Without these necessary reinforcements, required in conjunction with the Rothienorman, New Deer and Peterhead, the existing network cannot facilitate all required generation connections in the North East of Scotland.
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.
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.
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.
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