Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Limited (SHETL), a subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), has today submitted applications to the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Highland Council, Scottish Ministers and other statutory authorities to develop an electricity transmission connection between the Western Isles and the north west of Scotland.
In October 2004, SHETL asked for views on possible route corridors within which to develop a new high voltage electricity transmission line, to accommodate output from renewable energy schemes, which were proposed on the Western Isles. Following this preliminary consultation process, SHETL decided to undertake further environmental and technical work in respect of two possible route corridors. SHETL gave a commitment in February 2005 to examine possible options for locating the new connection from either Ullapool to Beauly or from Melvich/Dounreay to Beauly and also to examine the possibilities for underground HVDC transmission. In December 2006, SHETL published a new consultation document outlining that the preferred option for the connection included an underground cable between Beauly and Ullapool. The applications submitted now follow the publication earlier this year of the indicative proposed routes for the various elements of the transmission infrastructure associated with the Western Isles Connection. The key points of which were:
Confirmation that the preference expressed within the Consultation Document for the subsea route remained unchanged. The route was used as the centerline for a seabed survey last year. Following this survey, an indicative proposed route (IPR) was selected.
The IPR for the mainland section remained an underground cable between Little Loch Broom and Beauly Substation. The route had been adjusted in a number of areas and had been subject to an environmental assessment.
The indicative proposed location for the mainland converter station remained alongside the existing Beauly Substation.
The indicative proposed location for the converter station on the Isle of Lewis remained near Grabhair although it had been moved further away from the public road. Andrew Robertson, Scottish and Southern Energy’s Project Manager, said: “Over 700 organizations and individuals have participated in the voluntary public consultation process that we have undertaken. “We believe that we have selected the optimum route for the connection including considering the issue of undergrounding. We have, wherever possible, taken account of all views expressed and have recognized the concerns of the local communities.”