Shadow Scottish Energy Minister welcomes halt to SSE pylons project

Alexander Burnett, MSP
Alexander Burnett, MSP

The National Grid has recommended that work on the Beauly-Blackhillock-Kintore electricity pylons project in Aberdeenshire does “not proceed”.

As the owner of the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks – operating under licence as Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission – has a duty to develop and maintain an efficient, coordinated and economical electricity transmission system.

David Gardner, Director of Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission, explained: “We continually review the potential transmission network requirements arising from different scenarios for future demand and generation looking 10 years ahead and beyond. This allows us to identify parts of the network that may need strengthening or additional support, and begin work on the long term investments needed to meet the future requirements of our demand and generation customers.

“This year’s review of Grid options includes a change to the recommendation on the potential 400kV reinforcement project between Beauly, Blackhillock and Kintore that we have been developing to transport renewable energy from the north of Scotland.

“In last year’s report the project was recommended to “delay” such that it could be delivered one year later than originally planned. However, in this year’s report the project recommendation has changed to “do not proceed” which indicates that we should pause work on the project.

“We note this outcome and will now begin discussions with affected parties (including generation developers and local communities) about how to take forward the recommendations.”

Alexander Burnett, Aberdeenshire West MSP and Shadow Energy Spokesman in Holyrood for the Conservatives, commented: “I have received a significant amount of correspondence from constituents on this issue, and I am sure that many local residents will be relieved to hear this news today.

“I took a positive and constructive approach with SSE from the outset and ensured that that the local concerns were taken on board.

“It should be noted that SSE has said the National Grid recommendations do not necessarily mean the end of the need to reinforce the network at some point in the future. I will continue to monitor the situation on behalf of my constituents and maintain links with SSE on this issue.”

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