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Keeping the current flowing

The move to renewable energy sources requires careful maintenance of the electricity network. 

The Galbraith utilities team works closely with Scottish and Southern electricity Networks (SSEN) to assist in essential improvements to the network. Each year SSEN spends millions of pounds refurbishing its electricity network in order to maintain a reliable service to its customers.

Our role as wayleave officers is to liaise with landowners throughout projects, from securing initial access to dealing with any reinstatement issues that may have arisen during the course of the work.

The team aims to ensure that projects are delivered safely, on time and on budget by working with land-related stakeholders and taking into account seasonal matters, sporting activities and environmental requirements.

One of the recent projects Galbraith was involved in was to secure consents both statutory and voluntary for rebuilding about 14km of 33kV overhead line along its existing corridor west from the Beauly grid substation to Erchless. The route passes through a diverse area involving arable fields, crofting communities, residential gardens, felled forestry and crosses the River Beauly twice.

Several sections are planned to be placed underground where the line crosses under another overhead line, known as a ‘cable dip’. This is sometimes required for safety clearance when replacing wires and often this takes place when a wood pole distribution line crosses under a steel tower transmission line. This ensures that customers and colleagues remain safe in the vicinity of electrical apparatus during the course of the work. 

The methods of generating electricity are constantly evolving and the increase in hydro schemes and wind farms puts pressure on the network to connect the power generated effectively. The challenge has been to provide such connections while continuing to serve communities with a safe and secure service. The existing apparatus cannot simply support additional generation without taking a holistic approach to navigate the network through challenging terrain.

Livestock and wildlife can damage wood poles over time as well as the age of the asset and weather conditions causing an impact on apparatus. This refurbishment will ensure that the network is more resilient to these factors, lowering the risk of power cuts through faults and futureproofing the network for the benefit of customers.

Having been involved in many refurbishment projects across the north of Scotland, Galbraith understands the requirements of negotiating land rights and offers advice on compensation mitigation using our latest technology.

Our investment in mapping software and handheld tablets equipped with GPS means we can measure areas of crop damage within arable fields and give the landowner an accurate account to reasonably claim losses. We appreciate the assistance of landowners to help facilitate apparatus on their land therefore look to ensure that damage is reinstated and that overall the work has been carried out respectfully for all involved.