En­ergy firm un­veils plans for power im­prove­ments

The Oban Times - - The Oban Times & West Highland Times -

PLANS for im­prove­ments to Fort Wil­liam’s elec­tric­ity in­fra­struc­ture were un­veiled at a pub­lic meet­ing last week.

De­tails of the up­grade to the ex­isit­ing sub­sta­tion at Ach­in­tee Road were laid out by Scot­tish and South­ern En­ergy (SSE) last Tues­day (July 12).

The project, to be car­ried out by Scot­tish Hy­dro Elec­tric (SHE), in­volves re­plac­ing 45-year- old trans­form­ers with two new ones. This will en­able new gen­er­a­tion con­nec­tions and im­prove the se­cu­rity of sup­ply in the area.

The com­pany will also be clos­ing off the ex­ist­ing en­trance to the sub­sta­tion, to avoid traf­fic con­ges­tion out­side houses at the site, and open­ing a new one away from neigh­bour­ing houses.

One res­i­dent, who lives in the house di­rectly across from the ex­ist­ing sub­sta­tion en­trance, ap­peared un­fazed by the work.

He said: ‘I have never been both­ered by any traf­fic out­side. The sub­sta­tion has been here longer than me, so I am used to it.’

SHE will be sub­mit­ting a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to the High­land Coun­cil in Au­gust, and will be tak­ing feed­back it re­ceived from the meet­ing last week into con­sid­er­a­tion when putting its pro­posal to­gether.

Jim San­de­man, project man­ager, said: ‘ We want to do what we can to im­prove things for res­i­dents on the lim­ited bud­get we have. We are in de­tailed dis­cus­sions with the landowner and the ini­tial feed­back is good.’

Work is due to start on April 1, 2017, and be fin­ished by Oc­to­ber 31, 2018.

Kelly Scott, com­mu­nity li­ai­son man­ager, told The Oban

Times: ‘The new trans­mit­ters will be much qui­eter. In the next few weeks we will be car­ry­ing out noise sur­veys.’

The new trans­mit­ters will be big­ger, by around half a me­tre, but Mr San­de­man said their car­bon foot­print would be the same.

Talk­ing af­ter the meet­ing Ms Scott said: ‘We wanted to come into the com­mu­nity to ad­dress any con­cerns there might be, and make sure we are keep­ing peo­ple as in­volved as pos­si­ble.

‘Peo­ple’s main con­cern is they are kept in­formed, so we want to con­tinue this.’

With pedes­trian ac­cess to­wards Ben Ne­vis nearby, Ms Scott said: ‘ We are not plan­ning to block off any walk­ing ac­cess to Ben Ne­vis dur­ing con­struc­tion.’

Project man­ager Jim San­de­man with com­mu­nity li­ai­son man­ager Kelly Scott and en­vi­ron­men­tal project man­ager Si­mon Hall at the pub­lic meet­ing last week.

The Fort Wil­liam sub­sta­tion on Ach­in­tee road that is to be up­graded.

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