Project Type: VISTA
Location: Argyll & Bute, Stirling

Contact Details

Liaison Manager

Sally Cooper
Telephone: 07918 470281
Address: 10 Henderson Road, Inverness, IV1 1SN

Land Manager

Bill Robertson
Title: Land Manager
Telephone: 07584 434545
Status: Construction Phase

About the Project 

To play a part in conserving Scotland’s designated landscapes, SSEN Transmission sought to access a proportion of a £500m fund that is administered by the electricity industry regulator Ofgem. The Ofgem fund is only available to mitigate the visual impacts of transmission infrastructure in National Parks and National Scenic Areas (NSAs). SSEN Transmission identified Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park as an area where mitigation of the visualisation of transmission infrastructure was warranted.

 

SSEN Transmission’s two Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National park schemes will see approximately 7.5km of overhead line (OHL) and 25 existing transmission towers near the Sloy and Glen Falloch areas of the National Park.

As part of the SSEN Transmission’s VISTA (Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets) initiative, we will be installing a 132kV twin cable section of the existing 132kV double overhead line (OHL) circuit at Sloy and Glen Falloch.

What is VISTA?

The electricity and gas markets regulator, Ofgem, is responsible for administering a £500m fund for GB electricity transmission owners to mitigate the impact of existing electricity infrastructure on the visual amenity of nationally designated landscapes. This is part of the RIIO-T1 Price Controls that incentives and regulates how transmission owners operate, covering the eight year period from April 2013 to March 2021.

The primary objective of VISTA is to use the Ofgem funding to deliver the maximum benefit for nationally designated landscapes in the north of Scotland transmission network. This will be achieved by delivering projects that offer significant reductions in visual impact, while avoiding unwanted economic and environmental impacts.

Glen Falloch

The Glen Falloch section will look to reduce the quantity of overhead line infrastructure from the Glen Falloch area by developing a new 4.5km 132kV underground cable section in Glen Falloch to replace the overhead line on the Inverarnan to Killin circuit.

The work includes installation of two new cable sealing end structures at either end of the cable section, and Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) under the Network Rail owned national railway line.

Sloy

The Sloy section will look to reduce the quantity of overhead line infrastructure within Glen Sloy and the Inveruglas area by installing underground cables in place of some of the 132kV overhead lines between Sloy Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) switching station and Sloy 132kV Power Station 

New Cable Sealing End (CSE) towers will be constructed at one end of each circuit as well as the installation of a joint onto the existing cable at a location near to the existing GIS building.  Two HDDs will be required, (i) to cross under Inveruglas Water and (ii) to cross under a tributary and deep ravine east of Sloy switching station.

Following the cable circuit commissioning, a total of 12 existing steel towers will be removed, as well as the associated overhead lines.

Can alternative tower designs be used as a potential mitigation method?

All financially and technically feasible mitigation options that fall within the scope of our Vista policy are open for consideration for project development.

Can funding for projects be asked for on a per kilometre basis relative to the length of line within each Transmission Operators region?

Ofgem have made no link between the proportion of assets within National Parks and National Scenic Areas (NSA’s) within each Transmission Operator’s operational area, and the amount of funding available to them.

Can the fund be used to rationalise distribution infrastructure?

Ofgem has set up a separate initiative for mitigating visual impacts with regards to distribution infrastructure. This initiative is being run in parallel and were applicable we will seek to work closely with our Distribution company to ensure that stakeholders will receive best value and our, projects and proposals are coordinated.

Please visit the following for information on the Distribution initiative: www.ssen.co.uk/undergrounding/north/

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.

June 2021 Project Update

A project update can be downloaded from the Project Documentation section which highlights progress of works to date and what works are coming up.

VISTA projects underway

The Glen Falloch and Sloy VISTA projects started earlier this year and working with principal contractor Morgan Sindall Infrastructure the team have been working collaboratively to overcome some extreme weather and rock excavation challenges to progress these works. At Glen Sloy in the Inveruglas area the main works have been excavating cable trenches and installing protective ducting ready to install the new underground cable. Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) is about to commence in the first of three planned locations and will continue over the coming months. This is a minimal impact trenchless method of installing underground ducting and cabling under water courses, railway lines and roads using a surface launched drilling rig. The photo shows the installation of the cable ducting. This is carried out in sections of approximately 30 metres at a time following the trench excavation works. The ducting is installed, backfilled with a specialised sand then covered with two types of protective marker tiles before being reinstated. The team then move onto the next section to repeat this process. At Glen Falloch, assembly of pre-cast duct units and erection of fencing has taken place in preparation for the start of excavation works in late Spring. Additional bore holes have been completed in key locations to inform the final aspects of the design around the key road and rail crossing. We appreciate the support and patience of the community during these works, particularly for any disturbance caused from working through challenging areas of rock.

Project Information Poster

This time of year signifies the arrival of better weather and more walkers in the area. Project information posters have been put up and located at key points around the path networks of Glen Falloch and Sloy areas. This is to remind walkers to obey signage and to remain vigilant to large vehicles and construction traffic that are also using the tracks.

Argyll and Bute Information Sharing Webinar

On Wednesday 17th March, SSEN Transmission hosted an Argyll and Bute Information Sharing Webinar, to provide local stakeholders with an interest in future electricity network plans for Argyll and Bute the chance to join us to hear about our stakeholder-led plans for the future and receive an update on the current construction and operation activities in the region. For those who were unable to attend, we have uploaded a recording of the session which you can view by clicking on the adjacent video.

Ofgem Funding Approved

We are delighted to confirm that our industry regulator Ofgem have confirmed to fund our VISTA submissions at Sloy and Glen Falloch in full. This brings an end to a three year consultation and development process and we would like to thank all our stakeholders who have played a key role in helping us achieve funding for this project.

Project Update 2021

Project Update June 2021

Related Projects: VISTA - Glen Falloch & Sloy

File Type: pdf
Published: 01 Jul 2021
Argyll and Bute Information Sharing Webinar - March 21 - Slide Deck
File Type: pdf
Published: 18 Mar 2021

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