Skye’s part in keeping the nation’s lights on has been highlighted as the driving force behind a new overhead cable to link the island with the mainland.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, operating under licence as Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc, is set to hold a series of consultation events later this month to seek views on initial plans that will see a new line that connects Skye with Fort Augustus.
The existing 91 kilometre, 132 kilovolt (kV) single circuit overhead line was built in the late 1970s and is supported by steel lattice towers from Fort Augustus to Broadford, via Glengarry, Glenquoich and Glenelg where it crosses the Kylerhea Narrows. North of Broadford, a 54km line is supported by wood poles running to Edinbane and Dunvegan. From Dunvegan, the line also connects the existing 33kV submarine cable that serves the Western Isles.
The requirement of the Fort Augustus - Skye project is to increase electrical capacity between Skye and Fort Augustus to facilitate the connection of new renewable generation that is located in the north of the island. The works will also enhance network resilience, providing increased security of supply.
The project will aim to upgrade the network by introducing a second overhead line between Fort Augustus and Broadford substations and the replacement of the existing overhead line between Broadford and Edinbane substations.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ initial proposal is to make use of trident wood ‘H poles’ for both stages of the project which will help minimise the visual impact.
The consultation events will explain the need for the work and seek initial views on the preferred route option before more detailed design work and environmental studies get under way. As a responsible developer, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks is keen to learn of the views of all stakeholders to help inform the development of the project design.
Commenting, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Project Manager Mark Baxter said:
“Our team is in the early stages of developing a new connection between Fort Augustus, Broadford and Edinbane Substations. We will be presenting a preferred route and are keen to gain the views of local communities and specialist organisations ahead of future development and refinement.
“We are fully committed to engaging openly and constructively with local communities and interested parties throughout the development of our projects and where possible, we will do all we can to factor in feedback received and adapt our plans accordingly.
“I would encourage anyone with an interest in our plans to come along to one of our events to meet our team and discuss any issues or concerns.”
The open consultation drop-in events will be held on:
• Wednesday 21 September at Glenelg Community Hall from 2pm to 7:30pm;
• Thursday 22 September at Broadford Village Hall from 2pm to 7:30pm;
• Tuesday 27 September at Portree Community Centre from 2pm to 7:30pm; and
• Wednesday 28 September at Dunvegan Community Hall from 2pm to 7:30pm