Orkney SSEN Infrastructure Project

SSEN are holding public consultations in Orkney with their proposals to solve the islands dilemma over having lots of renewable electricity potential but lacking the infrastructure to support and export it.


The Orkney to Mainland Scotland Transmission Connection would see a new link with an additional 220MW available

The project would develop:

  • A new substation at Finstown
  • An underground cable linking Finstown substation to a cable landing site west of Stromness
  • A marine cable linking Mainland Orkney and Caithness
  • A new cable route between Dounreay marine cable landing point and the new substation at Dounreay
  • Construction of a new substation at Dounreay

Within Orkney SSEN propose:

  • Construction and installation of 132kV trident wood pole overhead lines and 132kV cables
  • Installation of 132kV subsea cables
  • Construction and installation of 132kV substation switchgear at each developer’s substation and Finstown substation
  • 2 switching stations

The public consultations this time round are to let people see the preferred routes from the contracted generation site to the Finstown substation.

Overhead Cables

Overhead cables are probably what most people are concerned about. The overhead lines will be carried on poles of 14m in height although in some places this may be as high as 17m.

Switching stations

Two switching stations are proposed.

  1. near Ellibister, north of Finstown
  2. South of St Margaret’s Hope


Substations have to be built at each new renewable development. These will be housed in sheds which will look like agricultural buildings.

Land Cables

Land Cables may be used in environmentally sensitive areas and be placed approximately 1..2m deep.

Subsea Cables

Subsea cables will be used between Mainland – South Ronaldsay and South Ronaldsay – Hoy. Where the sediment is deep enough they will be buried, however, if that is not possible then they will be laid along the surface of the sea bed. The proposed area for the subsea cabling has very strong tidal currents. The MV Strill Explorer has been surveying the area.

The next round of public consultations will take place in the summer. If you get a chance you can still view the proposals in Orkney.

  • Tue 1st May – Harray Community Centre, Harray, 14:00 – 19:00
  • Wed 2nd May – Bellview Hotel, St Margaret’s Hope, 14:00 – 19:00
  • Thu 3rd May – North Walls Community School, Hoy, 11:00 – 15:00

The team will be available at these times for any questions you may have. The pupils at the North Walls School will also have an opportunity to engage with what some of the project may look like with the use of Virtual Reality Headsets.

You can find out more about the project here: Orkney Infrastructure Project


Reporter: Fiona Grahame


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