About the project

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Transmission (SSEN Transmission), have constructed a new 400/275kV substation adjacent to an existing transmission line, west of the Wood of Middleton approximately two miles west of the village of Rothienorman.

The substation was first granted planning permission in February 2012, however due to changing network requirements and to accommodate overhead line tie ins with the substation, there were minor changes to the proposed site layout resulting in SSEN Transmission submitting a new planning application in September 2018 to take account of these changes.  Following a full Aberdeenshire council meeting on Thursday 17th January 2019, SSEN Transmission welcomed the decision from Aberdeenshire Council to proceed with the Rothienorman substation.

The substation is required to allow increased generation capacity access to the transmission system, while keeping the network fully operable and compliant with all necessary technical standards. Without these necessary reinforcements, the network cannot facilitate all generation connections.

Establishing a substation at Rothienorman addresses this issue and in effect increases the networks efficiency and capability. Power sharing across these circuits becomes more important as generation load increases on the system.



Progress Gallery

A selection of photographs documenting the project construction progress.

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. 

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 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.

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.

Rothienorman Substation - April 2022 Update

Following the successful completion of Phase 1 works at Rothienorman substation in 2021, SSEN Transmission have made plans and are ready to commence execution of Phase 2. This phase will see the Rothienorman substation being upgraded from its current operating voltage level of 275kV to 400kV. This is required as part of the wider North East 400kV upgrade project, spanning from Peterhead down to Kintore, in order to meet the energy transfer capacity requirements from the increased generation in the North. The key attributes of the upgrade work at Rothienorman substation include replacement of two Super Grid Transformers and their associated bay equipment, as well as changes to protection & control systems on site. SSEN Transmission have appointed Balfour Beatty as Principal Contractor to undertake the substation scope of work, who will commence by establishing a site welfare compound starting on 03/05/2022 in the area utilised for Phase 1 previously, in preparation to start civil works on 01/06/2022. Throughout the welfare establishment period, there will be an increased traffic flow on the access road leading to Rothienorman substation access gate, which will be controlled appropriately by the Principal Contractor. SSEN Transmission are keen to work closely with the local community to minimise disruption and provide regular updates about the progress and future developments of Phase 2. If you have any queries or concerns, please contact the Community Liaison Manager Dav Lynch (dav.s.lynch@sse.com)

Deer fence Installation at Rothienorman

Deer fence installation will be carried out at Rothienorman substation and will commence on Wednesday the 19th of January. This work is expected to take approximately 2 weeks. There will be a presence on site during this period but should create minimal disturbance. Please contact the Community Liaison Manager (dav.s.lynch@sse.com) with any queries or concerns you may have.

Rothienorman substation reaches major milestone with Phase One of the development complete

A major construction milestone was reached earlier this year at our new Rothienorman substation. Work has involved installing a new 275/400kV substation & upgrading 23km of overhead line. As of August 2021, Rothienorman substation is now fully operational with all circuits in and out of the substation in use. The site offices have since been removed by our substation contractor Siemens BAM and we are in a quiet period with very few project activities being undertaken on site, allowing our colleagues in the Operations and Maintenance teams to get familiar with the new asset. Limited construction works remain for Phase 1 of the development however there will be some additional fencing installed around the perimeter of the site before we embark upon Phase 2 of the construction which will commence early 2022. Our overhead lines are also in service with all work now having been completed by the contractor MSVE. Inevitably with a project of this size and scale there will still be some outstanding minor pieces of work to be completed and you may continue to see some of our own staff and those of our contract partners visiting the substation and overhead line to complete these tasks. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support, understanding and cooperation whilst we continue to improve the local transmission for us all. Please click on the image to view a video for more information on the project.

Environmental management video

We take a look back at the environmental management work involved during the build of Rothienorman substation. Protecting and enhancing the surrounding environment and wildlife, delivering a predicted 60% biodiversity net-gain at the site. Please click on the image to view the video.

June 2021 Update

In recent weeks our overhead line contractor MSVE have redirected the first of the circuits into the substation allowing our colleagues in Operations to energise the substation along with our substation contractor Siemens BAM. The energisation process commenced on 10th June and we are delighted to confirm that as of yesterday, 23rd June, we have now successfully energised all of the major components of the substation. In the coming weeks the project will be diverting the remaining overhead line circuits not the substation and completing the various ground reinstatement works around the substation before phase 2 of the development commences in early 2022.

April 2021 Update

The construction of the substation is now complete and the project is awaiting several outages to allow us to connect the overhead power lines into the substation to bring it into operation. It is anticipated that this process will be undertaken throughout the summer of this year. In the meantime, our substation contractor will continue to complete some remaining minor tasks on site. In the coming weeks and months, people passing by the substation will see our overhead line contractor undertaking the diversions of these power lines utilising the new towers, whilst making some modifications to existing towers and removing redundant ones as we approach the autumn season. This will conclude this phase of the project. In early 2022 the project will commence phase 2 of the development. This phase will see the further works at the substation to be fully capable of operating at 400kV and whilst the construction duration will be significantly less than the current phase, the network upgrade to the same voltage will continue throughout 2023.

C46 Road Closure

To allow our Principal Contractor; Global Infrastructure to undertake necessary road repairs, there will be a road closure on the C46, between the junction with the B992, to Blackford. Temporary road closures will be in place on the following dates: Monday 29th of March - Wednesday 31st of March & Monday the 12th of April – Thursday 15th of April. SSEN Transmission are focused on minimising disruption to the local community and ensuring the ongoing safety of the public as works continue. Access for emergency vehicles will always be maintained and roads will be open for local access. SSEN Transmission apologise for any inconvenience these works may cause.

November 2020 Update

The project has continued to progress well and despite the challenges faced by everyone with the global pandemic we haven’t seen any major impact on either the substation or overhead line sites. The good weather over the summer has allowed productivity to remain high and at the substation this means that we have effectively completed the installation of all of the equipment at the substation. Completion of the electrical installation is imminent and we are now underway testing and commissioning of the equipment and our communications systems. Our overhead line has now been fully reconductored between Rothienorman and Kintore substations. The remaining works wont be undertaken until next year when these overhead line conductors will be rearranged to connect into the substation at Rothienorman. Meanwhile there will be further planting and reinstatement work undertaken there prior to the completion of the build and full energisation next summer.

June 2020 Update

Both the substation and Overhead line works have progressed well albeit with some inevitable challenges. Both of our principle contractors have made significant changes to their site arrangements with the risk of infection being top of the agenda. These changes include measures to ensure social distancing can be maintained and the supply of additional PPE, sanitary facilities and welfare as required. Most noticeable changes at the substation are the creation of the landscaping around the site and planting of some trees however these works will not be completed for some months yet. Within the substation itself, there has been a lot of cables installed, switchgear mounted and the time consuming task of wiring up the equipment and control panels. In relation to the overhead line we have returned one circuit back into service after installing new conductors, new insulators and an optical ground wire (OPGW) throughout the majority of the route. We have now started work on the other circuit and are hopeful to have this back into service on programme without any delay.

April 2020 Update

Despite the challenges we are all currently facing with the COVID-19 pandemic, both the substation and overhead line element of the Rothienorman project have continued to progress, allowing us to continue our development of new critical infrastructure to enhance the GB electricity transmission network. The main activities at the substation have seen the majority of our steel structures and electrical apparatus now in place. This installation will continue for some weeks yet meanwhile the substation contractor (Siemens BAM) have brought in personnel to start wiring up the equipment where possible. After the successful delivery of our Grid Transformers in late February we have almost completed our earthworks with only the visual landscape screening bunds and planting remaining. There will still be some civils activities across the site but the majority of the workforce are now focussed on the equipment installation. Our overhead line contractor (MSVE) have enjoyed some good weather to continue replacement of one of the circuits between Rothienorman substation and the existing substation at Kintore. Whilst the work upgrading the towers themselves have had to cease temporarily, the replacement of the line has progressed well. This reconductoring will continue for some weeks yet before we start replacing the opposite circuit along the same route.

Transformer Oil Installation

We would like to make local residents aware of some work that is going to be undertaken on the Rothienorman substation site overnight from Wednesday 11th to Friday the 13th March 2020 and then again on Wednesday 18th to Friday 21st March 2020. The works consist of oil tankers being present on site to fill the transformers. Our Contractor Siemens BAM will be present throughout, the works will be quiet and there will normally be no lights on. However occasionally there will be people moving around and some localised lighting. If you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the project Community Liaison Manger; Gary Donlin

Rothienorman Transformer Delivery

As part of the ongoing construction works at our Rothienorman substation site, two large 275kV Transformers are expected to be delivered to site on the afternoon/early evening of Monday 24th February 2020. Each Transformer is significant in size and weight and as such requires transportation via police escort and specialist haulage equipment. During the delivery period we expect there to be extremely limited access on our construction traffic route; the A920, along the B992 (Colpy straight) and the C46 road eastbound towards the substation site. A map of the affected area can be downloaded from the project documentation section of this website. We would encourage all local residents to plan ahead and use alternative routes where possible.

Ecology Class at Fisherford Primary

Members of the Siemans-BAM team, currently working on the SSEN Rothienorman substation project received a visit from some of the projects ecologist this week to learn more about the local wildlife, ecology and habitats in the area. As part of the visit the pupils of Fisherford primary took part in some habitat design exercises, pond dipping and a food web game. The project team have also installed some camera traps so the pupils can see more about what local wildlife appears at the school in the coming weeks and months.

Community Engagements at Rothienorman Substation

SSEN have been delighted to recently welcome members of the Rothienorman Community Association and Fisherford Community Council to attend the site offices of the Rothienorman substation project for a project update and opportunity to view our site first hand. SSEN are committed to working alongside our neighbours and local partners and as such look forward to continuing engaging with the local and wider community. The Rothienorman substation project is a vital piece in SSENs wider plans to help transform our electricity network into a Network for Net Zero and as such we look forward to sharing further updates and progression at site over the coming months. For more detailed information on the latest news at Rothienorman, then please do not hesitate our Community Liaison Manager, Gary Donlin at gary.donlin@sse.com

Black Burn Bridge Planning Permission Withdrawn

Following ongoing consultation and discussion with both Aberdeenshire Roads Authority and specialist load hauliers, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks have taken the decision to withdraw a current planning application for bridge improvement works at the Black Burn Bridge on the C46 Road to the West of the village of Rothienorman It has been confirmed that the current bridge does meet the requirements that the Rothienorman Substation project currently requires, therefore there is no need to improve the current bridge and cause unnecessary local disruption. Should there be a need in the future for upgrades to the current Black Burn bridge then the formal planning process will begin again and local residents will be kept informed.

Good progress at our Rothienorman site

Work on the construction of SSEN Transmission’s new substation at Rothienorman is making good progress, with the substation platform and visual screening bunds now at an advanced stage. The ‘earthworks’ stage of the project is expected to continue into 2020, with construction of the control building scheduled to start taking shape towards the end of this month. Craig Taylor, Assistant Site Project Manager, is pleased with the progress that is being made and says that the recent spells of good weather have been a contributory factor: “The dry weather we had in June and at the start of July was a great bonus for everyone working here, as it made the job of excavating and moving all of the material on site so much easier ahead of the start of the actual substation construction.” To see some of the excavation and earth work that is currently taking place, please click on the image

Temporary Road Closures

Following discussions with Aberdeenshire Council’s Local Roads Authority, we have decided to follow their guidance and close access to certain roads leading into the Rothienorman substation site during the public road improvement works programme. These temporary restrictions are necessary in the interests of public safety owing to road widening works. The image under 'Project overview' clearly identifies the temporary closures affecting the B992 and C46(S) roads. Whilst these closures are in place, access for local property owners living within a road closure perimeter and emergency vehicles will be accommodated. Road closures will be in effect from the following dates; Closure 1 = 22/04/19 to 10/05/19 Closure 2 = 10/05/19 to 02/09/19 Whilst we would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, these actions are being taken to ensure that both public and staff safety is given the highest priority.

Planning Consent

Following a full Aberdeenshire council meeting on Thursday 17th January, SSEN have been granted permission to proceed with our proposed substation near Rothienorman. We welcome this decision from Aberdeenshire Council and as a responsible developer, we will continue to engage with the local community before, during and after the construction of the substation, which is a critical piece of network infrastructure and will play an important part in the move to a low carbon economy. We intend to begin construction on site in March 2019 and will ensure we keep all stakeholders informed of timelines associated with the project as and when they become available.

Construction Timelines

Our application to build a new substation near Rothienorman will go to a full Aberdeenshire Council meeting on the 17th January. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide information on our timelines, should the council approve our planning proposal. Start of public road improvement works – February 2019 Start of substation construction – March 2019 Should this project be granted permission it is also our intention to hold a ‘Meet The Buyer’ event in Rothienorman. This is an informal event where local businesses and contractors can chat with our primary contractor to discuss various avenues and opportunities for work relating to the project. We intend to host this event in March and will provide more information once details are finalised. We will ensure that we update all local residents with official dates for work to begin once we have these, should you have any questions or concerns about the specific nature of planned work, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with Gary Donlin, our Community Liaison Manager, on 07384 798 101 or at gary.donlin@sse.com

Planning Application Submitted

SSEN would like to confirm that we have recently submitted our planning application to Aberdeenshire Council regarding our proposals to build a new Substation east of Rothienorman village. This application, which includes the results of various reports, surveys and feedback of local members of the community can be accessed at the following link https://upa.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/online-applications/search.do?action=simple&searchType=Application SSEN welcome all feedback on our proposals, please do not hesitate to contact Community Liaison Manager - Gary Donlin - should you wish to discuss our proposals in further detail The reference number for the application is APP/2018/2175

Pre-Application Feedback Closed

SSEN would like to thank all who took the time to attend our recent pre application consultation event at Rothienorman Village Hall on 11.7.18. It was fantastic to see such a great turn out from members of the local community and to hear their thoughts and concerns on our proposal for the Rothienorman Substation Project. Our deadline for feedback following this event has now passed (27.7.18) and the project Community Liaison Manager will be discussing all submitted feedback with the project team over the coming weeks. Once we have done this we will be in touch with residents to provide a further update on the project, however in the meantime if you have any queries or issues then please do not hesitate to contact the project Community Liaison Manager, Gary Donlin, on 07384 798 101 or Gary.Donlin@sse.com

Project Documentation

Rothienorman Transformers Delivery

Related Projects: Rothienorman Substation

File Type: pdf
Published: 17 Jun 2020
North East 400kV & Eastern Reinforcements (Nov 2019)

Related Projects: Alyth 275kV Substation & Reactive Compensation, East Coast 275kV OHL Upgrade, East Coast 400kV OHL Upgrade, Kintore 400kV Substation, North East 400kV, Peterhead Substation, New Deer Substation, Rothienorman Substation, Tealing Substation Extension

File Type: pdf
Published: 19 May 2020
Rothienorman Substation Consultation Event Boards - July 2018

Related Projects: Rothienorman Substation

File Type: pdf
Published: 17 Jun 2020
Rothienorman Substation Pre-Application Consultation Poster

Related Projects: Rothienorman Substation

File Type: pdf
Published: 17 Jun 2020

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