The project, led by SSEN Transmission with principal contractors Siemens BAM and overhead line contractors MSVE, will facilitate the connection of clean, renewable energy projects from across the north of Scotland and transport power to areas of demand across the country.
Work has involved creating a new 275/400 kilovolts (kV) substation around two miles west of Rothienorman, along with reconductoring 23km of overhead line upgrades to the existing powerline between Rothienorman and Kintore.
With Phase One of the project now complete, the substation helps reinforce the transmission network by increasing generation capacity access in the North East and East Coast of Scotland, which plays a key role in delivering a network for net-zero emissions.
Extensive environmental mitigation work took place throughout the project, including planting over 20,000 native trees and sowing native wildflower seeds around the site to help screen the new substation and reduce the visual impact of the project. Work was taken to ensure badgers and foxes found to be living close by were not impacted.
Bird boxes, bat boxes and insect boxes were installed around the perimeter of the site to create a new habitat and encourage wildlife to nest in the area.
Environmental specialists estimate that the site has enhanced biodiversity by 60% in the area, encouraging an increase in the amount of wildlife found within the area and supporting SSEN Transmission’s commitment to deliver biodiversity net gain on its projects.
With properties located near to the new substation, teams worked to ensure noise disturbance remained at acceptable levels, and to make sure they reduced lighting at night-time to minimise any impact during construction.
The project team worked closely with the local community to keep them informed throughout the development but also to give something back and help where they could. This included providing regular monthly donations to the local food bank, and helping to spruce up Fisherford Primary School’s garden and pond allowing local species to thrive.
Craig Taylor, SSEN Transmission’s project manager said: “We’re delighted to have reached this major milestone in construction of Phase One of the Rothienorman substation project, which will help facilitate the increase in renewable electricity generation in the area, as well as future-proof it to allow for any potential onshore and offshore wind farm projects to connect to the GB transmission system.
“The community has been really supportive of our work and we thank them again for their continued patience and understanding while we progressed with this essential project.”
The second phase of work at Rothienorman is set to begin in early 2022, which will involve upgrading key components on the substation to 400kV, continuing to facilitate an increase in generation demand in the north east.