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Ground investigations in north of Scotland to help inform next stage of electricity network upgrade

By Kyle Ritchie

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SSEN Transmission is beginning ground investigation activity across the north of Scotland, as it gathers information to help inform the next stage of development for a major upgrade of the electricity transmission network that will enable the connection and transportation of renewable energy around Great Britain.

These projects, part of SSEN Transmission’s Pathway to 2030 programme of upgrades to the transmission network across Great Britain, will help deliver UK and Scottish Government net zero targets and energy security.

Over the coming weeks and months, project teams and contractors will undertake walkover surveys and intrusive ground investigation works, to help inform the next stage of development relating to the alignment of new 400kV overhead lines.

SSEN Transmission is beginning ground investigation activity across the north of Scotland.
SSEN Transmission is beginning ground investigation activity across the north of Scotland.

The new lines are part of several proposed onshore 400kV electricity transmission schemes which also include existing overhead line upgrades and new 400kV substations and HVDC convertor stations across the following projects:

• Beauly – Blackhillock – New Deer – Peterhead.

• Kintore – Tealing.

• Spittal – Loch Buidhe - Beauly.

• Beauly – Denny.

Intrusive ground investigations typically involve drilling boreholes and/or digging trial pits, allowing engineers to understand the engineering properties of the soil and rock beneath potential tower locations and their ability to support the structures.

Peter McKessick, head of onshore development for SSEN Transmission, said: “Ground investigations are a necessary step in any new developments, and the results will help determine the best designs for overhead line alignments.

“Local community members can expect to see more activity on the ground over the summer, and while most assessments are expected to cause very little local disruption, we would like to thank the local community for their patience while they are carried out.

“Where more intrusive assessments are required such as ground investigation works, we will work to keep local disruption and environmental impacts to a minimum.

“The SSEN Transmission project team will oversee the contractors’ works, who may employ specialist supervision from ecologists and archaeologists to ensure the works do not impact on local wildlife or archaeological assets.”

He added: “Our team continues to assess and consider feedback received from members of the public and stakeholders as part of our ongoing consultation process, which continues with more engagement events currently taking place.

“This includes active consideration of alternative alignments proposed by stakeholders which we are currently assessing against key environmental, technical and economic factors. Should we establish viable alternatives that warrant more detailed investigations, they will also be surveyed accordingly.”

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