SSE intend to apply for planning permission to build a huge subsea electricity cable between Lewis and the mainland later this year.
Gravir on Lewis has been confirmed as the preferred site for the underwater link to export energy from giant windfarms on the island.
SSE says that the proposed route between Gravir and the mainland seems the best for the interconnector. The seabed was surveyed last summer.
A converter station is still earmarked to be built on the hill above Gravir although it has been moved further away from the public road.
SSE says that it has carried out a subsea survey between South Lochs and Stornoway to allow for the possibility of an underwater connection to Arnish and then overland to the substation at the Arnish road end
It has also selected two possible overland routes for poles or pylons between Gravir, Garryvard, over Loch Erisort, through Leurbost and Crossbost to the sub-station at the Arnish to Stornoway road. Alternatively a leg may run from Keose along the main road to the Arnish junction.
SSE said: “Over the next year, it is intended to complete an environmental impact assessment on the three routes. At the end of the assessment, a decision will be taken on which route to take forward. At this stage, it is not clear whether one circuit or two circuits will be required to link between Grabhair and Stornoway.”
The proposed Western Isles Connection will proceed in two distinct sections. The Lewis Infrastructure will be subject to further environmental surveys and no decision will be taken until autumn 2009. It is intended that the main interconnector, between Grabhair on Lewis and Beauly, will be the subject of applications for consent later this year.
Adam Bruce, Head of Sustainable Development at SSE, said: “Almost 300 organisations and individuals have participated in the voluntary public consultation process that we have undertaken over the past four years. We believe that our proposal shows that we have taken account of all views and comments, including, where possible, the issue of undergrounding.
“Following extensive environmental and technical studies, we are confident that the correct decisions have been made and this will be reflected when the time comes to obtain the relevant consents.”
14 July 2008
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