Project Type: Transmission reinforcement
Location: Highland

Contact Details

Liaison Manager

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

Land Manager

Ali MacLeod
Title: Land Manager
Mobile: 07500 912996
Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN
Status: Early Development

Virtual Consultation 

Back in February this year, SSEN Transmission announced its plans to replace the existing electricity transmission powerline that runs from Fort Augustus to Ardmore in the north of Skye. The current line was constructed in three distinct sections between 1956 and 1989 and is now reaching the end of its operational life.  Its planned replacement is essential to maintain security of supply to homes and businesses along its route, as well as to the Western Isles, which is supplied by two subsea cables from Ardmore point.

Consultation on the proposal was originally planned to take place in March this year, with seven public engagement events planned in locations along the route for the replacement line. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic these events were cancelled. 

To continue engagement on the project SSEN Transmission has developed an  online consultation tool, to enable the local community to experience the full exhibition from home on a computer, tablet or mobile device. The online exhibition was designed to look and feel like a real consultation in a community hall, with exhibition boards, maps, interactive videos and the opportunity to share views on the proposals.

Following the Skye Reinforcement Virtual Consultation events which closed on 26 June 2020 the portal has now been removed. All the material on display can now be view by visiting the project webpage under the  “Project Documentation” tab.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                

 

Flythrough Portal

 

We want to ensure that our stakeholders have as good an indication as possible of the position of the proposed route corridor. Therefore, we have created a portal which includes 6 3D videos covering the length of the route between Ardmore and Fort Augustus.

 

To access the portal please click here 

About the project

We are currently developing proposals to reinforce the high voltage electricity network, from Ardmore on the Isle of Skye, to Fort Augustus. The existing 132kV overhead transmission line from Fort Augustus to Ardmore is the sole connection from the mainland electricity transmission system to Skye and the Western Isles and is essential for maintaining security of supply in the area.

Recent studies into the condition of the existing infrastructure have indicated that the section of the overhead line between Quoich substation and Ardmore substation requires to be rebuilt and upon completion of construction of the new line, the existing line removed.

Furthermore, as a result of an increase in renewable energy projects requesting access to the electricity transmission network, there is a requirement to increase the capacity of the overhead line to allow renewable develoment to connect. 

Project Elements

To facilitate the known connection requirements, the main elements of the proposed development solution are required:

  • From Fort Augustus substation to Broadford substation, it is proposed to construct a new double circuit 132kV overhead line (OHL) comprising steel structures. The existing Fort Augustus to Skye Tee 132kV trident wood pole OHL, and the existing 132kV steel lattice OHL between Skye Tee and Broadford would be dismantled and removed once the new OHL is operational;
  • Between Broadford substation and Edinbane substation, the existing single circuit wood pole trident 132kV OHL would be replaced with a new double circuit 132kV OHL comprising steel structures. The existing OHL would be dismantled and removed once the new OHL is operational;
  • Between Edinbane substation and Ardmore substation, the existing single circuit wood pole trident 132kV OHL would be replaced with a new higher capacity132kV trident wood pole OHL. During construction, the existing OHL and its replacement would run in tandem but on energisation of the new OHL, the existing OHL would be dismantled and removed.

Why is the project required?

The need for the project is threefold:

Securing supply:

The current OHL was constructed between 1956 and 1989, and after a long service is now reaching the end of its operational capabilities. The replacement is essential to maintain security of supply to homes and businesses along its route, as well as to the Western Isles, which is supplied by two subsea cables from the north of Skye.

Connecting renewables:

There is demand to connect new renewable electricity generation on Skye, this requires an increase in capacity of the OHL.

Network for net zero:

SSEN intends to ‘future proof’ the replacement line to allow the connection of additional renewables to help meet Government ‘net zero’ climate change
targets. Supporting the transition to ‘net zero’ emissions.

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.

Why are you building a new line?

The current line was constructed in three distinct sections between 1956 and 1989 and is now reaching the end of its operational life. Its planned replacement is essential to maintain the security of supply to homes and businesses along its route, as well as to the Western Isles, which is supplied by two subsea cables from Ardmore point.

In addition to keeping the lights on and improving network reliability, the replacement line will also deliver greater network capacity to enable the connection of new renewable energy generation to the transmission network, supporting the transition to a net-zero emissions target.

 

 

Have you not consulted on this project before?

We consulted on the former project between 2016 and 2018. The scope of this former project was the construction of an additional woodpole transmission line between Fort Augustus and Broadford, and replacement of the existing woodpole transmission line between Broadford and Edinbane. As the project scope has now changed, due to changes in the project need, we have started the project development process again, including our commitment to consult with stakeholders at various stages during the design process.

 

What do you mean when you say this consultation is voluntary and not required under Section 37?

New overhead lines require consent under Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989. Public events and pre-application consultation are not a statutory requirement for Electricity Act applications; however, there is an expectation that pre-application engagement is undertaken for large scale projects. We consider engagement to be important where large scale projects are proposed and for this reason will consult, using a variety of methods, at various stages in the development of this project.

 

What consultation have you done to date?

The project team undertook a face to face meeting with key statutory consultees in November 2019 to introduce the changing project need, our strategy for meeting the project needs, and to seek initial feedback on our proposals. We have published a Consultation Document setting out the project need and an overview of the main elements, consideration of the route options, and the next steps in the project development process.

 

Why are you consulting again?

The scope of the project has changed due to the changing project need. As a result, we have started the project development process again, including our commitment to consult with stakeholders at various stages during the design process. This is so we can communicate the changes to our stakeholders, ensuring we gather all valuable feedback to inform the new project scope as we move through the development and design process.

 

What are you consulting on now?

At this stage, we are ensuring the project requirements are fully communicated, as well as consulting on the preferred route for the proposed Skye Reinforcement Project between Fort Augustus substation and Ardmore substation on the Isle of Skye.

 

Why did you hold virtual consultations? Will you no longer be holding face to face consultations?

Face to Face consultation on the proposal was initially planned to take place in March this year, with seven public engagement events planned in locations along the route for the replacement line. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these events were cancelled. The Scottish Government has recognised online consultation as an acceptable alternative when restrictions on public gatherings are in place. We will be holding face to face events as soon as government restrictions are lifted.

 

When will you next be coming out to consult?

We hope to be holding face to face consultations as soon as government restrictions on social distancing have been lifted.

We will also be holding further consultations as the design develops over the next year. This is to ensure stakeholders have the opportunity to have their say and inform the project as it progresses.

 

Who are the statutory consultees? What input do they provide in the consultation process?

The Highland Council, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Historic Environment Scotland (HES), Scottish Forestry (SF), ECU, MS

These consultees have various responsibilities to ensure different planning policies and legislation are fully taken account of during the project development process, ensuring the adverse impacts of projects are avoided and/or appropriately mitigated. They also act as consultees/advisers to the Scottish Government, who are the consenting authority for overhead lines.

 

Why have you continued to consult while we are still under Covid-19 restrictions?

We have continued to consult in line with Scottish Government advise on public consultation during Covid-19 restrictions. This advice states developers should utilise online media tools, such a virtual consultation rooms, to allow the public to access publicised project-specific information and present questions to the project team.

As a transmission network owner, part of our license is to provide dates to facilitate new energy generators connecting to our network. This forms part of the project need for the Skye Reinforcement works. To allow us to meet agreed connection dates with generation developers, we are unable to pause the project completely due to Covid-19 restrictions as this would adversely impact upon our ability to meet such agreements.

 

What environmental assessments will you carry out?

We carry out a range of environmental assessments at different stages in the project development, depending on the environmental sensitivities present. These can include protected species surveys, e.g. birds and otters, habitat surveys, landscape and visual assessments, hydrology, cultural heritage, and proximity to dwellings.

 

When will you be carrying out environmental assessments?

The assessment we have undertaken to date follows our internal guidance which looks to identify the least constrained option, based on a number of environmental, technical and cost issues. This has included, but not limited to, gathering site-specific information on protected species, habitats, hydrology, cultural heritage and proximity to dwellings. As the design progresses, further detailed environmental impact assessment (EIA) work will be carried out to inform the detailed design, including any required mitigation. Undertaken early EIA work prior to finalising design ensures that potential environmental impacts are fully understood and designed out where possible.

 

What are SAC's and SSS's? How do these impact the decision making?

SSSI – Site of Special Scientific Interest - These are areas of land and water that Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) considers to best represent our natural heritage - its diversity of plants, animals and habitats, rocks and landforms, or a combination of such natural features. SNH designates SSSIs under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. SSSIs are protected by law. It is an offence for any person to intentionally or recklessly damage the protected natural features of an SSSI.

SAC – Special Area of Conversation - protects one or more special habitats and/or species – terrestrial or marine that are listed in the EU Habitats Directive. In Scotland, this means the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 apply, and the Scottish Government will be required to consider the effect of development proposals on the SAC before it can be consented (commonly known as Habitats Regulations Appraisal).

As part of the decision-making process, SHE Transmission has to ensure we are not adversely impacting these sites.

 

How has proposed route been selected?

At this stage, our preferred route has been selected based on identifying the least constrained option using a range of environmental, technical and constructability issues, along with initial consultation. We will undertake further detailed assessments, one of which will include biodiversity net gain. At this stage, we are seeking feedback to ensure we take into account a range of views and as such we have indicated that adjustments in the preferred route may be required based on the next design phase. We hope that the public will provide feedback on other issues such as landscape and visual, as well as collecting detailed local knowledge which may also inform our decision making.

 

Can't you use the existing line/route?

A technical assessment has indicated that the current overhead line infrastructure is reaching the end of its operational life and needs to be upgraded to allow for the security of supply and growth in generation demand looking to connect to our network. In order to facilitate this, a new overhead line is proposed.

 

How much bigger will the new pylons compare to the current pylons?

We have not yet selected the technology at this stage of the consultation. We expect the replacement towers to be around 28m high. The current towers are on average 26m high.

 

Why can you not replace with a wooden pole line?

A wood pole line would not have the capacity to carry the energy. Four wood pole lines would need to be constructed to carry the same amount of energy as one steel tower line.

 

Why are you not undergrounding the full line?

It is acknowledged further detailed environmental and engineering survey work will be required to find an acceptable alignment and design solution through this sensitive landscape and environment, which could result in a review of the preferred route option and or use of appropriate localised mitigation methods, such as underground cable.

 

You have undergrounded powerlines in other areas, why can't do you underground on this project?

Projects which have removed transmission infrastructure in National Parks has been undertaken making use of a fund set up by the energy regulator Ofgem, to mitigate the impact of existing infrastructure that was historically constructed before modern environmental consenting regulations were established. The fund could not specifically be used to finance underground cable works in regard to this project, however, this form of mitigation may be required as the project develops through the consenting process.

 

How much generation capacity will be able to connect to the new line?

The replacement line will have increased generation capacity to facilitate the connection of new renewable energy to connect to the national grid. The line will have a generation capacity of 348MW

 

When will the new line be built?

Construction of the line is expected to commence in 2023 and complete in December 2025

 

Will you remove the existing pylons?

Once the replacement line is built and energised, we will commence the removal of the existing towers.

 

How much construction traffic will there be?

We are currently early on in the design phase, determination of the use of existing road networks will follow in the detail design phase. We would seek to limit the interaction with local road networks as far as possible through this phase and present at the next phase of public consultations.

 

Why has the preferred route changed from 3A to 3B in the section of line that passed Kylerhea

The route of the existing line passes through both woodland and open ground habitats, which are qualifying features of the Special Area of Conservation / SSSI. This route also presents significant technical challenges due to the lack of existing access opportunities and areas of steep slope and ravines. Having undertaken further constructability studies and consultation with statutory consultees, our preferred route at this stage is Option 3A (western extent) and 3B. Further detailed environmental and engineering survey work will be required to find an acceptable alignment and design solution through this sensitive landscape and environment, which could result in a review of the preferred route option. We understand the sensitivities within this area and are working towards detailed design to ensure a balanced approach, which addresses technical and environmental considerations. Landscape and visual aspects in this area are a significant issue. We will be undertaking detailed studies and will be undertaking further consultations with the communities during the design phase.

 

For section 5 of the line running through Glengarry will the temporary wooden poles be removed?

The works currently underway are essential to secure the supply in the area; we are building a permanent line. However, we expect a rationalisation of existing infrastructure in the future, which may include the dismantling of this woodpole. This will be determined during the detailed design phase.

 

What will happen at Fort Augustus substation?

The new Skye line will terminate within the current Fort Augustus substation. There are no plans to extend the site under this work. The exact route into the substation and technology used will be determined through the detail design phase. At present, the preferred method is using overhead line and following the existing wood pole Skye line.

 

Will the new Skye line be underground or overhead, and where will it enter the existing substation?

The exact route into the substation and technology used will be determined through the detail design phase. At present, the preferred method is using overhead line and following the existing wood pole Skye line.

 

Virtual Consultation Events

To continue engagement on the Skye Reinforcement project, SSEN Transmission has developed an online consultation tool, to enable the local community to experience the full exhibition from home on a computer, tablet or mobile device. The online exhibition has been designed to look and feel like a real consultation in a community hall, with exhibition boards, maps, interactive videos and the opportunity to share views on the proposals. Visitors will be able to engage directly with the project team, via a live chat function, where they can ask any questions they might have about the project and share their feedback on the current proposals. The virtual consultation events will be taking place as follows: 9 June 2020 14:00 - 16:00 10 June 2020 10:00 - 12:00 11 June 2020 18:00 - 20:00
See the homepage for the link to our virtual events

Public Consultation Events Postponed

In line with Government and medical advice regarding Covid-19, SSEN Transmission has taken the decision to limit external engagement activities. We therefore took the decision to postpone our planned engagement events for the Skye Reinforcement Project. The four events that were scheduled to take place in Skye on 16th to 19th March and those scheduled to take place in the Great Glen 24th -26th March will not go ahead. We would like to apologise for the postponement of our consultation events and will be in touch with information once they have been rearranged. Although we will not be holding the events all the materials from the planned events, presenting our proposals, is available to be downloaded from the project documentation section of this webpage . Consultation is central to the development of our projects, it is an opportunity to share our proposals with the community and hear their views. Without this valuable feedback, we would be unable to progress projects and reach a balanced proposal. We would like to reassure the local community that by postponing our planned events the opportunity to provide their feedback has not been missed. SSEN Transmission takes its responsibilities as a provider of a critical national infrastructure very seriously. The SSE group has taken steps to protect colleagues, key sites and to maintain the effectiveness of teams. We are keeping a watching brief and have a comprehensive structure firmly in place and key personnel meeting daily to reassess the situation. All of the measures we take will be guided by government advice, and our decisions will meet the overriding objective of maintaining our key operations, taking good care of our colleagues, stakeholders and the communities we serve. The consultation events in the following locations have been cancelled: • Dunvegan Hall, Dunvegan: Monday 16 March 2020, 3pm – 7pm • Aros Centre, Portree: Tuesday 17 March 2020, 3pm – 7pm • Broadford Village Hall, Broadford: Wednesday 18 March 2020, 3pm – 7pm • Kyleakin Community Hall, Kyleakin: Thursday 19 March 2020, 3pm – 7pm • Glengarry Community Hall, Glengarry: Tuesday 24 March 2020, 3pm – 7pm • Glenelg Community Hall, Glenelg: Wednesday 25 March 2020, 3pm – 7pm • Fort Augustus Village Hall, Fort Augustus: Thursday 26 March 2020, 3pm – 7pm

Public Consultation Events

SSEN Transmission is holding a series of Public Consultation Events across Skye and the Highlands to gain views and feedback on our proposals to reinforce the high voltage electricity network, from Ardmore on the Isle of Skye, to Fort Augustus. Come meet us on the following dates to hear more about the project and provide feedback: Dunvegan Hall, Dunvegan Monday 16 March 2020 3pm – 7pm Aros Centre, Portree Tuesday 17 March 2020 3pm – 7pm Broadford Village Hall, Broadford Wednesday 18 March 2020 3pm – 7pm Kyleakin Community Hall, Kyleakin Thursday 19 March 2020 3pm – 7pm Glengarry Community Hall, Glengarry Tuesday 24 March 2020 3pm – 7pm Glenelg Community Hall, Glenelg Wednesday 25 March 2020 3pm – 7pm Fort Augustus Village Hall, Fort Augustus Thursday 26 March 2020 3pm – 7pm

Document downloads

Skye Reinforcement Project ROC Routeing Nov 2020

Related Projects: Skye Reinforcement

File Type: pdf
Published: 16 Nov 2020
Appendix 1 - ECU Stakeholder letter 8 Oct 2020

Related Projects: Skye Reinforcement

File Type: pdf
Published: 16 Nov 2020
119026-D-ROC1.0-1.6-0.1.0 Preferred Route_rfs

Related Projects: Skye Reinforcement

File Type: pdf
Published: 16 Nov 2020
Skye Reinforcement Virtual Consultation Summary

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File Type: pdf
Published: 19 Aug 2020
Skye Reinforcement June 2020 Booklet

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File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Aug 2020
Skye Reinforcement Project Overview

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File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Aug 2020
Skye Reinforcement Project Section 0

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File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Aug 2020
Skye Reinforcement Project Section 1

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File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Aug 2020
SSEN - Skye Reinforcement Project Section 2

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File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Aug 2020
Skye Reinforement Project Section 3

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File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Aug 2020
Skye Reinforcement Project Section 4

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File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Aug 2020
Skye Reinforcement Project Section 5 and 6

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File Type: pdf
Published: 10 Aug 2020
Appendix 1 - Skye Overhead Line Reinforcement Strategy March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
Appendix 2 - Approach to Route Selection March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
Appendix 3 - Rag Ratings (Combined) March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
Appendix 4 - Environmental Appraisal of Route Options March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
Figure 1 - Corridor and Route Options [small] March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
Figure 2 - Route Options (Sections 0 - 6) [small] March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
Figure 3 - Ecological Constraints (Sections 0 - 6) [small] March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
Figure 4 - Geology, Hydrology and Hydrogeology (Sections 0 - 6) [small] March 2020

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Published: 18 May 2020
Figure 5 - Cultural Heritage (Sections 0 - 6) [small] March 2020

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Published: 18 May 2020
Figure 6 - Landscape and Visual Constraints (Sections 0 - 6) [small] March 2020

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Published: 18 May 2020
Figure 7 - Land Use and Recreation (Sections 0 - 6) [small] March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
Figure 8 - Preferred Route [small] March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
Skye Reinforcement Booklet March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
SSEN - Skye Reinforcement Project - Overview March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
SSEN - Skye Reinforcement Project - Section 5&6 March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
SSEN - Skye Reinforcement Project - Section 2.pdf

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File Type: pdf
Published: 09 Jun 2020
SSEN - Skye Reinforcement Project - Section 0 March 2020

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Published: 18 May 2020
SSEN - Skye Reinforcement Project - Section 1 March 2020

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Published: 18 May 2020
SSEN - Skye Reinforcement Project - Section 3 March 2020

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Published: 18 May 2020
Skye Reinforcement Project Consultation Document March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020
SSEN - Skye Reinforcement Project - Section 4 March 2020

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File Type: pdf
Published: 18 May 2020

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