Project Type: Transmission reinforcement
Location: Orkney

Contact Details

Liaison Manager

Lisa Marchi-Grey
Title: Community Liaison Manager
Mobile: 07825015507
Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN

Land Manager

Iain Firth
Title: Wayleaves Officer
Mobile: 07876 837494
Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN
Status: Project assessment



Consultation event - Flotta

Subject: Orkney connection project

Project background

In 2010, The Crown Estate announced the successful development partners for wave and tidal energy generation in Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. Applications were made to National Grid (as GB System Operator of the electricity transmission network) by the successful renewables generators for connection offers. To facilitate these new connections, the requirement for a subsea cable link was identified, connecting Orkney to mainland Scotland, along with the construction of a number of new substations and on island infrastructure upgrades.


In 2011, we initiated work to develop options for subsea cable connections (to connect individual developments and for the main subsea connection to mainland Scotland), new substations and on island onshore infrastructure reinforcements. This included the development of routing for a marine cable between Dounreay and Orkney, and substation design development, with a potential substation site identified near Bay of Skaill. A considerable amount of work was undertaken from 2011-2014 to develop the project including design development, environmental survey work, stakeholder consultation and public consultation.

During the period 2013 to 2015, the three wave energy developments along the west coast of Orkney Mainland withdrew their requests for connection. Given the withdrawal of the wave energy projects on Orkney, a separate Dounreay to NW Orkney project was put on hold. We have now re-initiated an Orkney Connection Project, with an amended scope to reflect the current contracted generation in 2016

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 our 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 been 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?

We 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. 

Public consultation events

We are hosting a series of open door events where members of the community can drop in to receive further information on our proposals. The events can be found on the events page of our website (

Consultation on treatment of non-mainland GB onshore wind projects

We have today responded to the UK Government consultation on treatment of non-mainland GB onshore wind projects, to read our response please go to the ‘Project documentation’ section of the project website

Project Documentation

Consultation on treatment of non-mainland GB onshore wind projects (Consultation Report)

Related Projects: Orkney, Western Isles, Shetland

File Type: pdf
Published: 31 Jan 2017
Stakeholder Consultation Response - August 2014 (Consultation Report)
Orkney Electricity Network Reinforcement

Related Projects: Orkney

File Type: pdf
Published: 05 Dec 2016
Stakeholder consultation - February 2014 (Consultation Report)
Orkney Electricity Network Reinforcement

Related Projects: Orkney

File Type: pdf
Published: 05 Dec 2016

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