Corran Narrows power upgrade work begins

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Homes and businesses in the Ardnamurchan Peninsula are set to benefit from a more secure and reliable power supply according to SSEN Distribution who start work on an upgrade at the end of this month.

The Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) being set up at Bunree.

Three new power cables will be installed under Loch Linnhe and six kilometres of overhead lines are to be replaced with new underground cables.

To help minimise disruption to local homes and businesses, and in particular the busy Corran Narrows channel across Loch Linnhe, SSEN’s delivery team will be using Horizontal Directional Drills (HDD) to bore the route for the new cables under the seabed.

Specialist contractors O’Connor Utilities will be bringing their HDD expertise to the programme having recently completed a twin crossing of Cork Harbour in Ireland and prior to starting work on the HS2 high-speed rail link.

Drilling will begin in the field at Bunree, behind the Corran Bunkhouse, and run approximately 15 metres beneath Loch Linnhe before emerging on the opposite shore behind the Ardgour Lighthouse.

Mel Chisholm, SSEN’s Lead Project Manager for the Submarine Cables team, explained how the project will help maintain the security of electricity supplies for local customers:

‘Only two out of the three ducts under Loch Linnhe are required to deliver the power to our customers,’ she said.

Having a third cable already in place adds extra resilience to our network. The project is highly technical, and that’s why we’re working with a leading contractor in the field to deliver this important programme of works.’

As well as delivering long-term security of supply for dozens of communities across the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, the project has already identified several environmental and economic benefits:

Samantha Thomson, Chair, Ardgour Community Council concluded: ‘We have been delighted by the support offered by SSEN Distribution’s Corran Narrows team to the Ardgour community from the very first stages of this project.

‘While carrying out ground preparation works, we asked if they could assist in cutting back bushes that had taken over a local path and were restricting access for local walkers.

‘The team was happy to help out and asked their contractor to cut back the rhododendron which has made a huge difference. During lockdown our local paths have been an especially important local asset, enjoyed by many, and the support from the Corran Narrows Project Team was a great boost to our local paths project.

‘They have been very supportive in the area and we look forward to continuing working with them in the future.’