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Energy / Application submitted to connect local electricity network to national grid

Proposed overhead lines at the Veensgarth junction with the A970. Image: SSEN-Transmission

SSEN Transmission has lodged an application to construct a 22 kilometre long overhead and underground link between the new Kergord substation and the proposed Gremista Grid Supply Point (GSP) which will, for the first time, connect Shetland to the national grid.

The 132kV infrastructure will consist of two circuits of which around half will be buried, while 11km of overhead lines will be carried on Trident H-poles each 11 to 17 metres in height.

The section 37 application to the Scottish Government has been described as “key milestone” by the owner of electricity transmission network.

It follows a number of roadshows and consultation meetings with stakeholders and community councils to discuss the visual impact of the proposed lines.

A meeting with the Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale community council last autumn was told that burying the entire line would add millions of pounds to the cost of the project.

The new 132kV circuit will link local households and business premises to the Viking Energy wind farm, and to the national grid on days the wind is not blowing.

SSEN Transmission said the Kergord-Gremista connection follows extensive local consultation which has helped shape the project’s design.

At the Kergord end the 132kV infrastructure will be undergrounded for around 5.8km, with another 900m section of one of the circuits to be undergrounded at Sweenister, the company said.

As the transmission circuits approach and connect to Gremista GSP, the two circuits will be undergrounded covering a distance of 4.1km in total.

SSEN Transmission said it also committed to undergrounding around 11km of existing 33kV electricity distribution overhead network infrastructure running in parallel with the proposed 132kV overhead lines and 500m of existing electricity 11kV distribution overhead network infrastructure, reducing the cumulative visual impact of overhead network infrastructure on Shetland’s landscape.

Lead project manager Grant Smith said the application marks a “major milestone in helping secure Shetland’s future security of supply”.

“Upon completion, these projects will connect Shetland to the GB energy system for the first time and will enable the supply of clean power to homes and businesses, even at times when local generation on Shetland’s electricity distribution network does not meet demand,” he said.

“Our proposals have been carefully developed to minimise the impact on Shetland homes, businesses and the local landscape as we have sought to balance a range of economic, environmental and technical factors.”

Representation to the Section 37 application can be made via the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit website once the application has been validated and published.

More details on the project can be found here.