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