Over the past 5-years or so the region has experienced a rapid escalation in the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources(I) to the extent that the existing high voltage transmission system can become overloaded at times. Furthermore, additional consented generation planned to be connected to the network over the coming years will lead to an unsustainable situation resulting in increased constraint payments. In view of the age of the existing transmission system, the operating voltage and the level of anticipated generation simply modifying the network to accommodate this additional capacity is not possible which leaves an upgrade as the only option.
Moving to a high voltage super-grid network provides the region with the electrical transmission infrastructure it currently lacks and one that removes the current bottlenecks in transferring excess renewable energy from Dumfries & Galloway to England and Wales where demand exists. It also provides an alternative route to free up constraint on the Moyle Interconnector between Auchencrosh and Northern Ireland. However, the upgrade to a super-grid, while necessary, brings with it a number of undesirable features that are likely to significantly impact the lives of many people and businesses in the region as well as those who visit for holiday or recreation.
The following sections discuss the needs case for this project and introduces alternatives that may help mitigate these negative impacts. The aim is to work with SPEN to arrive at a solution that takes account of the need to preserve the special nature of the area. A cost estimate is included to support these alternative approaches.