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: Operational

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.

Spittal Substation and Converter Station

Spittal is a new electricity convertor station and is part of the £1.1bn Caithness-Moray project which represents the largest investment in the north of Scotland’s electricity network since the hydro development era of the 1950s and is the largest capital investment project undertaken by the SSE Group to date. It is also the largest Living Wage contract ever awarded in the UK, demonstrating SSEN’s strong commitment to ensure all employees working on its sites get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Project elements

The project at Spittal consists of a 132/275 GIS AC Substation and a 800 MW HVDC Converter station. A design and build contract for the AC the Substation was awarded to an ABB/Balfour Beatty consortium and a separate design and build contract for the DC HVDC Converter station to ABB. The AC substation is due for completion Q4 2017 with the HVDC in 2018 in line with the overall Caithness-Moray project. The GIS Substation has four super grid transformers. Each transformer weighs approximately 170 tonnes and has been successfully installed on their plinths on site.  The structural frame for the GIS AC Substation is now complete with the roofing and cladding. The GIS building is completed the switchgear and control panels are installed.

Scheduled works for 2017

  • Installation of four Super Grid Transformers (SGT) in AC substation;
  • Construction on DC Converter Station
  • Testing of all control panels for AC substation
  • Completion of AC substation and GIS Building

HVDC elements

The HVDC Converter Station will be a sizeable building and will be constructed under a design and build contract awarded to ABB and their civil contractor. ABB mobilised to site in March 2016 and are well into their construction program.

The HVDC main circuit equipment will start to arrive in mid-2017 with electric install scheduled to start there after.

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 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.

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?

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.

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. 

Spittal at night

An ariel image of the Spittal HVDC and AC substation at night

Second transformer delivered

The second transformer was successfully delivered to Spittal substation from Port of Scrabster today.

First transformer delivery

The first of four transformers that will play a vital role in the north of Scotland’s future electricity network has just set off to make the final stage of its journey to Spittal substation, Achanarras today.

Local Businesses

The following businesses have all played key roles in construction to date:
  • ABB is a pioneering technology leader that works closely with utility, industry, transport and infrastructure customers in roughly 100 countries. With more than four decades at the forefront of digital technologies, we are a leader in digitally connected and enabled industrial equipment and systems with an installed base of more than 70,000 control systems connecting 70 million devices.
  • Address:
Alba Traffic Management, Inverness
  • Our purpose is to ensure a safe working environment for the workforce as well as providing a safe passage through or around the traffic management system for the motorist or pedestrian.
  • Address:
AJ Engineering, Forres
  • AJ Engineering & Construction Services Ltd was established in 1999 and has developed a reputation as one of the region’s foremost steel fabrication, steel erection and cladding specialists. Whatever the project, we aim to provide on-time and on-budget delivery of high quality products and services.
  • 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:
Caithness Flagstone Limited, Wick
  • Caithness Flagstone Limited, the world’s premier producer of Caithness Stone is based in Spittal, Caithness in the north of Scotland. Full scale commercial quarrying in Caithness began almost 200 years ago. Today, Caithness Stone is a dynamic industry mixing traditional techniques with new technology. The production of the stone is fast, clean and efficient.
  • Address:
Clean Crazy Ltd, Thurso
  • Clean Crazy Ltd is a family run business. Whatever your cleaning requirements are we can tailor a service to meet your every need.
  • Address:
CS Drilling Services, Thurso
  • CS Drilling Services was established in 2005 and is one of the best known sources of rock drilling and blasting in the West of Scotland and Outer Islands. The company’s mission is to provide an unrivalled drilling and blasting service to customers in Scotland who are looking for operations carried out to a realistic price and agreed time scale.
  • Address:
Donald McLennan Fencing Contractor, North Kessock
  • We are a family run business, with over 30 years of experience, based a few miles north of Inverness. We are therefore ideally situated to cover works across the whole of the Highlands & Islands.
  • Address:
Edward MacKay, Brora
  • First established in 1958 as a road haulage company, Edward Mackay Contractor has progressed into all aspects of construction and civil engineering. Since then we have grown steadily and diversified to meet the needs and requirements of a large and varied client base.
  • Address:
Global Infrastructure, Beauly
  • A leading contractor, Global Infrastructure provides Civil Engineering and Construction Services to the Utilities, Energy and Development Sectors.
  • Address:
GMR Henderson Builders, Wick
  • Established in 1989, GMR Henderson has gained an enviable reputation as a Main Contractor and has been highly active in the field of construction, building, renovation and civil engineering throughout the Highlands of Scotland.
  • Address:
Gow Groundworks, Halkirk
  • Established for over 7 years, Alan Gow Groundworks are specialists in groundwork, concrete work and building and renovation work
  • Address:
John Gunn, Swiney, Lybster
  • Gunn was established in 1912 and has traded for over 100 years. David Gunn, the present Managing Director, is the third generation of the Gunn family to manage the business.
  • Address:
MM Miller, Wick
  • Operating throughout the Highlands, MM Miller is one of the most successful building and civil engineering contractors in the region. Founded by Callum Miller in 1964, the company is now run by his son David, backed by a strong team of experienced professional surveyors and contract managers.
  • Address:

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