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Energy / Plans submitted for overhead power lines through central mainland

A visualisation of what the lines could look like. Image from SSE.

CONSTRUCTION on around 11.5km of new overhead power lines through the central Shetland mainland could get underway next year if the project receives consent.

An application for the SSE project has now been submitted to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit.

It aims to link Lerwick to Kergord as part of Shetland’s new energy set-up once the isles are connected to the national grid via a subsea transmission link.

Two 132 kV overhead lines would run in parallel over the 11.5km distance, meaning that there is essentially more than 20,000 metres of line at play.

They are required to connect a planned grid supply point in Gremista, and the consented Mossy Hill wind farm outside of Lerwick, to a new substation in Kergord.

The grid supply point is central to Shetland being part of the national grid as it will be where the transmission network is connected to the distribution network.

The overhead lines will predominantly follow the route of the A970, from Veensgarth to near Sandwater. They will be different than Shetland’s existing power lines; the proposed H pole is based on a trident design.

The proposed poles have a nominal height of around 11m to 17m.

Sections of underground cabling is also being proposed by SSE, including between Mossy Hill and Gremista.

The plans have previously sparked concern from the Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale Community Council, with members in favour of underground cables instead.

A planning statement provided to the Scottish Government said construction works would take place over two “outage seasons”, starting in 2023 and completing in 2025.

Construction activities would be undertaken during daytime periods – approximately 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 8am to 6pm on Sundays.

Associated works required to enable the construction and operation of the lines would include approximately one kilometre of permanent access tracks – and 800m of this is expected to be upgrades to existing tracks.

Temporary compounds and laydown areas would also be required.

The planning statement concludes: “Whilst some significant visual and landscape effects are identified, on balance given the scale of the development, effects have been minimised as much as possible and any potential significant impacts are vastly outweighed by the overall benefits of the scheme in relation to the transmission of renewable energy generation.”