Need for New Line

New renewable energy supplies have been granted both onshore and offshore in the North of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland.  The need exists to transport this and other electrical power to Scotland’s Central Belt and onward to the rest of the United Kingdom.

One reason given for this new line is to back up the new Beauly-Denny line which was first powered up in 2015. However, this new line will not be needed before 2024 which means that Beauly-Denny will not need a back up for at least nine years (how come it managed without back up for a decade?)

No transmission utilization figures are publicly available for the 275Kv lines in Aberdeenshire, nor for Beauly-Denny line that was described in 2015 in the Scottish Parliament as a “white elephant”. To fully understand who needs this power, where they are, in what quantities and when, I would need to know exactly what capacity is required by which areas this line is intended to serve. Hence I object since these figures have not been scrutinized by either by members of the public or a competent independent qualified body on the public’s behalf.

If SSE’s evaluation of the need was calculated on historical data and projected forwards we do not see that adequate consideration been taken of the fact of the downturn of the oil industry within the North East of Scotland over the past year and a half. This downturn is likely to continue for some years to come. Note that the entire UK oil and gas upstream industry has returned only £35M to the Treasury this year as compared to several billion pounds annually in previous years. This is the lowest return since oil & gas developments started in the North Sea in the 1970s. This must be reflected in lower electricity demand figures in the North-East for many years to come. At minimum, this means that any demand need for power must come from further south. In other words, routing via Kintore is no longer essential.

Therefore perhaps the demand in the North-East may not be as great as projected or if it comes about would be much later than the planned go-live date for this new line. Therefore is there a need for a completely new powerline or could the existing one be utilised/upgraded as is one of the criteria to be considered in the decision process.

SSE should reconsider the following:

  • This design is not consistent with Scotland’s Third National Planning Framework.
  • The design is perverse because the Nation Grid is already putting existing powerlines undergroundin England with a £500m budget. Building entirely new all-overground lines through such attractive unspoiled rural area is inconsistent; no evaluation has apparently been made between our area and those where National Grid will replace overhead lines by underground ones.
  • The technology to be deployed is old and inefficient with higher losses than comparable high voltage DC lines – especially where these are deployed over long distances offshore.
  • SSE should display familiarity and competence with construction and maintenance of modern offshore power transmission networks. Instead it appears that this organization is a dinosaur always using the same technology, displaying old attitudes and embrace the professionalism and skills of those in the area familiar with offshore installations