Next phase of consultations launched for SSEN Transmission north east infrastructure projects

Next phase of consultations launched for SSEN Transmission north east infrastructure projects

SSEN Transmission is inviting members of the public to share their views on the next phase of development for two infrastructure projects in the north east of Scotland.

Views are being sought at nine events on potential route options for a new overhead line between Beauly and Peterhead following the first round of consultation which took place in autumn 2022, as well as welcoming feedback on the site selection for new infrastructure in Peterhead, known as the Peterhead Net Zero 2030 Developments.

SSEN Transmission said the projects will help enable the connection of renewable energy from across the north of Scotland and play a critical role in the fight against climate change and securing the country’s future energy independence

Peterhead to Beauly overhead line project

The Peterhead to Beauly overhead line project will help connect onshore and offshore renewable power and transport it from source to areas of demand across the country. The draft route options, which also include the connection to new proposed substations along its route at Blackhillock near Keith and New Deer, have been determined following feedback received during the first round of consultation events last year, coupled with detailed assessments and studies. SSEN Transmission is now looking for feedback on these draft route options which will inform more detailed alignments for the new overhead electricity transmission line.

Since the first round of consultation took place in autumn 2022, which saw over 360 people attend eight roadshow events about the project, engineers have worked to narrow down the route corridor options and refine them into more defined routes. These draft route options range from 200m to 1km in width, depending on the nature and extent of constraints of the area in question.

Following constructive feedback from the previous consultation, the proposed 190km overhead line from Peterhead to Beauly has been redivided from five sections to 11 sections, allowing stakeholders to share feedback on specific areas they are interested in.

To help inform these draft routes, SSEN Transmission has adopted the use of new and highly sophisticated Opitioneering software, which has allowed engineers to take an innovative approach to assessing and defining potential route options which considers a wide range of factors based on publicly available data sets and technical requirements. This includes proximity to homes, villages, and towns; historical landmarks, features and landscapes; and the many environmental designations in the search area.

This analysis was further assessed and validated by desk and field-based studies, alongside valuable local knowledge and input and feedback from stakeholders during the first round of consultation, which has informed a shortlist of the most viable options which are now being put forward for consultation.

Peterhead Net Zero 2030 Developments

At the Peterhead consultation event, SSEN Transmission is also seeking views on its preferred site for the Peterhead Net Zero 2030 Developments. As part of the GB wider programme of reinforcements required to deliver Government 2030 targets, Peterhead is set to become a critical node on the transmission system, collecting huge volumes of renewable energy, particularly offshore wind, and transporting that power to demand centres across the country. A new High Voltage Direct Current link from Spittal in Caithness to Peterhead is required, alongside a second HVDC link between Peterhead and demand centres in England in the South Humber region. As part of these HVDC links and the onshore connection from Beauly to Peterhead, there is a requirement for two HVDC Convertor Stations, two substations and an innovative Switching Station which will support future offshore wind connections.

These reinforcements are separate to advanced plans to build the first subsea HVDC subsea superhighway from Peterhead to Drax in Yorkshire, which remains on track for energisation in 2029 with early construction works expected to begin later this year.

SSEN Transmission’s consultation specifically seeks feedback on its initial preferred routes for the Peterhead to Beauly overhead line and the preferred Peterhead Net Zero 2030 Developments site, alongside those other options that were shortlisted. This will allow the consideration of local feedback and the potential to recognise other route options that may have been discounted initially, or which may not have been identified.

The consultation events will be taking place on:

  • Monday 17 April - Peterhead, Balmoor Stadium, 2-7pm
  • Tuesday 18 April - New Deer, New Deer Public Hall, 2-7pm
  • Wednesday 19 April - Turriff, Baden Powell Centre, 2-7pm
  • Thursday 20 April - Keith, Keith Longmore Hall, 2-7pm
  • Friday 21 April - Huntly, Stewart Hall, 2-7pm
  • Monday 24 April - Elgin, UHI Moray College, 2-7pm
  • Tuesday 25 April - Forres, Forres Town Hall, 2-7pm
  • Wednesday 26 April - Inverness, Kingsmill Hotel, 2-7pm
  • Thursday 27 April - Beauly, Phipps Hall, 12-7pm

A virtual event will also be held to share more information about the project for anyone unable to attend the events in person. More details about the virtual event will be shared on the project website.

SSEN Transmission lead project manager Catherine Swan said: “The new overhead line from Beauly to Peterhead is part of a GB wider programme of upgrades to our critical national electricity transmission network infrastructure that is key to help achieve UK and Scottish Government 2030 targets, deliver a pathway to Net Zero and secure the country’s future energy independence.

“We would like to thank everyone who shared their feedback on our initial proposals for the new overhead line between Peterhead and Beauly last year, which has played a hugely valuable and informative role in helping us move forward and refine our designs for the next steps in our project.

“We are now seeking feedback on our draft route options, with this local feedback and expertise key to help us further refine our plans and inform the more detailed alignments. At Peterhead, we’ll also be doubling up with the project team working on the Peterhead Net Zero 2030 site to welcome views on their preferred site selection, following an informative consultation process on the site selection options in January this year.

“We look forward to building on the constructive engagement we have enjoyed with communities and wider stakeholders in the area and encourage anyone with an interest in the project to come along to one of our in-person events later this month, or join us at our virtual event, to share their views.”

All feedback on the proposals for the Peterhead to Beauly overhead line project will be welcomed until Friday 9 June, with feedback on the Peterhead Net Zero 2030 project open until Friday 19 May. Although SSEN Transmission has a limited period for feedback on the current proposals, the project team will always accept feedback and input throughout the development stage of the project.

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