Ofgem has approved a Final Needs Case for a transmission reinforcement project being pursued by SSEN Transmission.
With this approval, SSEN Transmission will be able to push ahead with its plans to reinforce the high voltage electricity network which runs from Ardmore on the Isle of Skye to Fort Augustus. This is crucial to ensure stability of the network which has had two “major faults” in recent months.
A statement released by SSEN Transmission on the project read: “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”.
Alongside this, the project will also look to upgrade the capacity of the overhead line to allow further renewable energy projects to connect to the transmission network.
Commenting on the project, SSEN Transmission’s managing director Rob McDonald said: “The existing Fort Augustus to Skye overhead line is fast reaching the end of its operational life, as demonstrated by two major faults in recent months which resulted in the temporary loss of power to over 20,000 customers along its route and in the Western Isles, which is supplied by two subsea cables from north Skye.
“Alongside the need to keep the lights on for homes and businesses along its route and in the Western Isles, the replacement line will also increase the capacity of the local electricity transmission network to enable the connection of new renewable electricity generation along its route. The need for this project is therefore beyond doubt and we welcome Ofgem’s final approval of need following its assessment of our robust Final Needs Case.
“We now look forward to the Scottish Government’s determination of our Section 37 planning application and remain committed to work constructively with all stakeholders to ensure the timely delivery of this critical local and national infrastructure, building on our proud heritage of powering the highlands and islands as we continue to deliver a network for net zero emissions and secure future electricity supplies across the north of Scotland.”