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South West Scotland Project FAQs

At SP Energy Networks, we make it easy for you to find the information you require. Below, you’ll find an extensive list of South West Scotland Connections Project FAQs.

Can't find what you’re looking for in the resources below? Contact the team instead!

Why are renewable energy schemes being developed?

Why are renewable energy schemes being developed?

The Scottish Government announced a major target to generate Scotland’s electricity from renewable energy. Onshore wind and the subsequent connection to the electricity network will make a significant contribution towards that target.

As the existing network does not have sufficient capacity to cope with the level of demand, a new transmission network is required. The South West Scotland Connections Project will enable new sources of renewable energy to connect into the electricity transmission systems and will play a key role in helping Scotland meet its renewable energy targets.

What consultation was there?

What consultation was there?

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out as part of the consenting process. Public meetings and Consultation documents were made available in 2007 as part of the consultation process. The Traffic and Transport Chapter of the Environmental Statement (2009) identified potentially adverse traffic related impacts during the construction period along with specific mitigation which could be employed within the project area.

Subsequently, we presented a range of proposed measures to reduce the impact that construction of Part A of the project may have on local communities, in particular the disturbance caused by Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) traffic. As a result, a Traffic Management Plan has been prepared for the project.

Public Consultation to reopen local quarries Brownhill Rigg, Gallow Rigg and Wellhill to extract stone for use on the Project were undertaken in April 2015.

Why do new substations and lines need to be built?

Why do new substations and lines need to be built?

To meet the challenging target set by the Scottish Government there is a huge increase in the generation of renewable energy, this energy has to be connected to the electrical grid system. The lines transport electricity, substations are required to connect demand and generation to the grid. They also provide the ability to switch electricity flow onto different circuits to allow maintenance and other works on the network.

As a licenced electricity transmission company we have a duty under the Electricity Act 1989 to develop and maintain an efficient, coordinated and economical system of electricity transmission and to facilitate competition in supply and generation of electricity.

We are responsible for developing the transmission system and connecting new demand and generation to the grid network in accordance with the GB Security and Quality of Supply Standards.

All investment has to be approved by the regulator (Ofgem) and the South West Scotland proposal has been developed under license conditions.

Where, how many and what height will the towers be?

Where, how many and what height will the towers be?

Part A

The overhead line will be approximately 14.3km in length, on 46 steel towers extending from the existing Coylton substation to the new New Cumnock substation.

The height of the new towers will range in height from 40m to 57m. The basic design span of the towers is approximately 360 metres but this will vary between 213 metres and 386 metres to accommodate environmental constraints, topographical variations and ground clearance requirements.

Part B

The new 15km overhead line will extend between New Cumnock Substation (approx 3km east of Dalmellington) and the new substation planned at Blackhill, which is situated approximately 1.7km west of Afton reservoir.

The 65 towers which will support the new 132kV overhead line will range in height from 23 to 33 metres depending on the land variations.  

Part C

This involves the proposed Glenglass substation and new connecting overhead line to Blackhill Substation. The overhead line will be approximately 13km long on 70 steel towers ranging in height from 23 to 39 metres depending on land variations.

Part D

‘Part D’ is an umbrella term for connections to the transmission network of proposed wind farms in the South West Scotland Connections Project. Originally constituting parts D1, D2, D3 and D4, there are now only three ‘Part D’ elements, as Part D1 fell away following the removal of North Kyle wind farm.

Part D2 involves an overhead line between Dersalloch wind farm and New Cumnock substation. A section of this would be underground cable, at the eastern end of the line.Part D3 refers to Dun Hill substation.

Part D4 is a 1.6km long underground cable running between Black Hill substation and Pencloe wind farm.

What environmental studies have been undertaken?

What environmental studies have been undertaken?

A range of environmental studies were carried out as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the scheme, identifying a range of important habitats and designations along the route.

Have Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMFs) been considered?

Have Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMFs) been considered?

We have designed the proposed replacement transmission line to comply with the government policy of adopting the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) on exposure to EMFs.

The companies believe that compliance with government policy on levels of exposure to EMFs, which in turn is based on the advice of the government’s independent scientific advisers, the NRPB (now part of the Health Protection Agency), ensures the appropriate level of protection for the public from these fields.

Who will pay for the project?

Who will pay for the project?

The investment in the project will be made by us, SPT. Electricity transmission companies are authorised to recover the costs of such investments through 'use of system' charges which are levied by National Grid Electricity Transmission plc on generators and suppliers of electricity. Suppliers recover their costs from all electricity customers. In order to protect the interests of customers, the transmission companies have to demonstrate to the energy regulator that proposed investments are necessary and are efficient and economical so that the charges which are ultimately levied on all electricity customers are acceptable.

When will work start?

When will work start?

Part A

Work on the substation at Coylton commenced in February 2013. The new overhead line preparation works started in the Autumn 2013 with construction work on some of the towers started in 2014. The new substation called New Cumnock, works to clear and level the area that will create the concrete platform started late Summer 2013. This platform will provide the base for the substation and house the mechanical and electrical infrastructure to be installed. It is anticipated that all infrastructure works in Part A will be complete by late Summer 2015.

Part B & C

Work will start in 2015  with the start to construct a new 132kV overhead line between New Cumnock Substation and the new substation at Blackhill. The new Glenglass substation will connect to Blackhill Substation via an overhead line. Tree clearance contract to start in the summer 2015. Works due for completion in 2016/2017

Part D

Involves a 132kV wood pole overhead line between Dersalloch wind farm and New Cumnock substation. Dun Hill substation, two underground 132kV cables approximately 100m in length will connect the substation directly into the overhead line between Black Hill and New Cumnock Substations. An underground cable will be laid between Black Hill substation and Pencloe wind farm.

 

What does the construction work involve?

What does the construction work involve?

The overall project consists of extending an existing substation, constructing 4 new substations and approximately 53km of new transmission overhead line and 1.6km of underground cable. Pre-construction operations will include tree felling, with 273 hectares of commercial forestry expected to be removed. The following clearance corridors will be required for operational reasons:

  1. 80m for the overhead lines
  2. 10m for the underground cable sections
  3. 40m around each substation

Construction would involve the following sequence of activities:

  1. Construction of temporary construction compounds
  2. Preparation of accesses
  3. Provision of bridges over watercourses for access track construction
  4. Preparation of temporary working area including excavation and construction of tower/pole foundations
  5. Delivery, assembly and erection of towers/poles
  6. Tower/pole stringing and commissioning of the overhead line
  7. Removal of temporary infrastructure and reinstatement

How long will it take to complete?

How long will it take to complete?

It is our intention that work will be complete Part A by late Summer 2015, Parts B & C 2016 and Part D 2018

What work will be undertaken prior to erection of towers?

What work will be undertaken prior to erection of towers?

We will undertake work such as managing construction traffic, felling trees, installing access tracks and installing foundations for the new towers.

How will construction traffic be managed?

How will construction traffic be managed?

A traffic management plan has been developed for Part A. The plan is proposed to be further developed for subsequent parts of the project once planning conditions are received. These traffic management plans will vary through different parts of the construction phase, but will include periods of public road improvements and access track construction. This will ensure that we keep any inconvenience to the public to a minimum whilst maintaining a safe environment for the workforce and all other road users.

Will you be closing any public roads?

Will you be closing any public roads?

During some operations such as power transformer delivery, due to the size and width of the load, sections of road may be closed to allow what we call abnormal load transportation. These closures will occur outside peak times and be coordinated by the Police and traffic management specialists

What hours will construction be carried out?

What hours will construction be carried out?

Construction will be limited to:
Weekdays (Mon - Fri): 7am-7pm
Weekends: Sat 8am-12pm

In certain circumstances, we may have to work additional hours but this will be by prior agreement with the relevant authorities and we will inform any one directly affected by the work.

Will any of the new infrastructure remain?

Will any of the new infrastructure work remain?

Temporary access tracks will be removed following completion of the relevant sections of the project. Should landowners desire for these tracks to be retained permanently, it would fall to the individual to apply for planning permission. 

Will you be undertaking reinstatement work?

Will you be undertaking reinstatement work?

All works will be reinstated in agreement with the relevant parties.

How will you work in designated environmental areas?

How will you work in designated environmental areas?

Where we have identified a designated environmental area we will work in strict accordance with SEPA, SNH and other bodies to ensure habitat and species protection.

In the development stages of the scheme, an Environmental Impact Assessment of the route was carried out, identifying the range of habitats, designations affected and mitigation measures that would be adopted to avoid or mitigate negative impacts on these areas. Additionally, an Environmental Management Plan will be implemented during construction of the scheme, establishing parameters for operating in designated areas.

Will there be any power cuts during construction?

Will there be power cuts during construction?

There should not be any disruption to the transmission supply due to the nature of the system. Should local shut downs at lower distribution voltages be required these will be planned in advance and customers notified. We will do our utmost to keep any disruption to a minimum.

Where can I find out more information about the work in my area?

Where can I find out more information about the work in my area?

You can get more details from the Project Team; email your contact details and query to SWSProject@scottishpower.com and they will be in touch.