A helicopter carrying dismantled tower parts out of the Cairngorm National Park flies past the Dalwhinnie Distillery.
In the past 10 years CKD Galbraith's utilities team has been involved in several major electricity infrastructure projects acting for both the transmission operator and landowners.
In March, the Kintyre to Hunterston project was completed on time and on budget. CKD Galbraith staff were part of the team that helped to deliver this 200 million project which saw the building of a new grid substation at Crossraig, the replacement of 14km of 132kV overhead line and the installation of 41km of sub-sea cable linking the new substation with Hunterston in North Ayrshire.
The team secured new planning consent for the grid substation and statutory consents from landowners and stakeholders.
This often required innovative solutions to logistical issues, such as creating a new service road to allow delivery of two 110 tonne and two 133 tonne transformers to the site. The project provides a more secure supply of electricity in the Kintyre peninsula and additional capacity for future renewable projects.
For the past five years the team has acted on behalf of several landowners with major properties in the Cairngorm National Park in co-ordinating the actions of SSE Transmission during the dismantling of a steel tower line. This line was built pre-war by the Grampian Electricity Supply Company and is being dismantled through a commitment by SSE following the construction of the Beauly Denny 400kV line.
One of the affected estates has seen the removal of 42 steel towers parallel to the A9 trunk road which was temporarily closed to permit the removal of those closest to the carriageway. Work continues in negotiating surface damage claims and remedial works.
In the far north of Scotland the team contributed to the successful initial connection into the grid for the MeyGen tidal energy project (see more here). This involved installing one of the longest underground cables in the world from a tidal energy project into the grid. When complete, the tidal energy array in the Pentland Firth, one of the most hostile stretches of water in the world, will produce 400MW of renewable energy - enough to power 175,000 homes. The work involved installing the cable in challenging ground conditions through the Caithness "flow-country".
Further recent successes in securing all necessary consents, both voluntary and statutory, while acting for the district network operators have contributed to the successful connection of various on-shore renewable projects in excess of 300MW.
The downturn in renewable energy projects has been disappointing, but the team retains the skill set required to meet the demands of the electricity supply industry to connect new projects large and small and to carry out essential refurbishment works to the existing network.