The full length of the Beauly-Denny line has been successfully energised and is now operating at up to 400 kilovolts.
The 220km replacement overhead line was developed jointly by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHE Transmission) and SP Energy Networks, which own and invest in the high voltage electricity networks in the north and south of Scotland respectively.
The new line is supported by 615 steel towers, replacing over 800 pre-existing 132 kilovolt towers that were built in the early 1950s. The renewal of the north-south spine of Scotland’s electricity network has supported more than 2000 jobs over a 7 year period. It is the longest transmission line to be built anywhere in the UK in recent times and crosses the highest and most inaccessible terrain on the Great Britain transmission system at the 2526ft summit of the Corrieyairack Pass.
Pearse Murray, Transmission Director at SP Energy Networks said: “This is one of the most important upgrades to Scotland’s electricity infrastructure in over half a century. A team of more than 2,000 people have come together to successfully deliver this project on time and on budget. Beauly to Denny will support Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy targets, and will serve the entire country for at least the next 60 years.”
Dave Gardner, Director of Transmission at SHE Transmission said: “The full energisation of Beauly-Denny represents an extraordinary achievement by a cast of hundreds who have worked all year round, often in challenging conditions, to get the job done. It is a remarkable feat of engineering and a testament to their commitment and skill.
“A huge amount of supporting work has also been done between our team, our contractors, landowners, local authorities and a range of environmental bodies to reach this milestone. I would particularly like to acknowledge the part played by the communities along the line who have worked with us each step of the way. We have learned a lot from their feedback and we are grateful for their patience while construction was under way.
“Now energised in its entirety, the line provides a fully functioning power super-highway between the Highlands and the Central Belt. It is unlocking Scotland’s renewable resources, supporting economic growth in the Highlands and helping to meet the energy challenge facing the country as a whole.
“We recognise that the project has often divided opinion. There is still significant work ongoing to reinstate access tracks, complete mitigation measures and remove the final sections of the pre-existing overhead line. Once all work is complete in 2016, we hope the new line will become as familiar a part of the landscape as its predecessor was – and, most importantly, will play its part in keeping the lights on all over the country for many decades to come.”
The new Beauly-Denny line, with simultaneous renewal of wires on the main existing overhead line between the Highlands and Aberdeenshire, has so far enabled the connection of 80 additional wind, hydro and solar generation developments in the north of Scotland, which are expected to have a combined installed capacity of over 1460MW by the end of 2015.