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April date for public consultation over plans for 275,000 volt line to Inverness from new £550 million Loch Ness hydro scheme

By Neil MacPhail

The existing Knocknagael substation.
The existing Knocknagael substation.

An Inverness public hall will be the venue for learning more about a major electricity hook up to the massive £550 million pumped storage hydro scheme (PSH) to be built in hills south of Dores on Loch Ness.

The consultation is over a proposed extension to the Knocknagael substation on the south-west outskirts of the city.

Local residents are invited to attend the consultation and exhibition in Green Drive Hall, Lochardil, on April 17 from 2-6.30pm.

Under its network operator’s licence Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Transmission is required to build the substation extension and say the event is “a key first step in the planning process for national planning applications.”

The power giant wants to provide a connection from the Loch na Cathrach PSH (formerly called the Red John project) near Dores, which has already been approved by the Scottish Government.

SSEN’s invitation card to local residents says that under their Network Operators Licence they are required to deliver the connection in a “technically efficient, co-ordinated and economic manner, whilst having the least practicable impact on people and the environment.”

The proposed substation extension would have to cope with 275 Kilovolts (kV) (275,000 volts) and it is “currently proposed” this power will be carried via underground cable.

The SSEN invitation says: “We would like to extend an invitation to local members of the community and all interested parties to attend an exhibition to discuss our plans with the project team and let us know your thoughts on our proposals.”

The invitation also warns that comments should not be submitted to Highland Council the planning authority at this time.

SSEN says: “Statements made to the prospective applicant (SSEN Transmission) and their representatives are not representations to the council. If planning application is subsequently submitted, then there will be an opportunity to make direct representation to the council at that time.”

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