SP Energy Networks has published a report summarising the feedback received from the first round of public consultation, carried out over three months in 2015, on the proposed Dumfries and Galloway Strategic Reinforcement Project.
The consultation was extended for five weeks to allow as many people as possible to put forward their views. In total more than 1600 pieces of feedback were received, which have now been scrutinised.
Colin Brown, Project Manager at SP Energy Networks said: "We would like to thank everyone who took the time to give us their input. We understand the project is of considerable interest to residents and other stakeholders in the area and we were very appreciative of the level of engagement in the consultation process.”
Since the consultation process was launched, a number of significant developments in the wider energy sector materialised that have the potential to influence the scale and nature of the project.
It remains the case that investment is required to replace ageing infrastructure in the Dumfries and Galloway region. However, SP Energy Networks and National Grid, in its role as GB System Operator, are undertaking further analysis to determine the extent to which changes to subsidy arrangements for onshore windfarms and the future mix of power generation in Scotland alter plans for the development of the electricity transmission network.
The purpose of this work is to determine the most appropriate way forward for the development of the transmission system to maintain its high standard of reliability whilst facilitating development of new generation sources.
As was made clear throughout the first round of consultation, the project is still in its early stages.
Pearse Murray, SP Energy Networks’ Transmission Director said, “In our initial documentation published last year, we indicated our intention to undertake a second round of consultation in 2016 on the preferred routes and substation sites. Given the further analysis work we are doing with National Grid, we believe it is necessary to take more time to consider the issues in order to ensure that the most appropriate proposal is taken forward to the next stage of the process.
“Once we have the results of the studies that are underway, we will be in a position to set out any implications on the scope of the project and our plans for the next round of consultation. We expect that this will be in the summer of this year.”