The full length of the 130 mile Beauly-Denny power transmission line has been successfully energised and is now operating at up to 400 kilovolts.
The new £800 million line is supported by 615 steel towers, replacing more than 800 pre-existing 132 kilovolt towers that were built in the early 1950s.
The renewal of the north-south ‘spine’ of Scotland’s electricity network has supported more than 2,000 jobs over a seven year period.
It is the longest transmission line to be built anywhere in the UK since the middle of last century and crosses the highest and most inaccessible terrain on the Great Britain transmission system at the 2,500ft summit of the historic Corrieyairack Pass.
The replacement overhead line was developed jointly by SSE’s Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission subsidiary and Scottish Power’s SP Energy Networks, which own and invest in the high voltage electricity networks in the north and south of Scotland respectively
The new line – with simultaneous renewal of wires on the main existing overhead line between the Highlands and Grampian – has also enabled the connection of 80 additional wind, hydro and solar generation developments in the north of Scotland, which are expected to have a combined installed capacity of over 1460MW by the end of this month.
Pearse Murray, Transmission Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “This is one of the most important upgrades to Scotland’s electricity infrastructure in over half a century. Beauly to Denny will support Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy targets, and will serve the entire country for at least the next 60 years.”
Dave Gardner, Director of Transmission at SHE Transmission, said: “The full energisation of Beauly-Denny represents an extraordinary achievement by a cast of hundreds who have worked all year round, often in challenging conditions, to get the job done. It is a remarkable feat of engineering and a testament to their commitment and skill.
“Now energised in its entirety, the line provides a fully functioning power super-highway between the Highlands and the Central Belt. It is unlocking Scotland’s renewable resources, supporting economic growth in the Highlands and helping to meet the energy challenge facing the country as a whole.”