From Milan to Tomatin via Venice and the A9

As the owner of the transmission network for the north of Scotland, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has an important part to play in the UK’s transition towards a low-carbon economy, as more and more renewable generators are looking to connect to the grid.

As the licence holder for this part of the UK network, SSEN has an obligation to enable these generators to connect to the transmission system; the electricity generated by them is then transported to areas of demand across the country.

One of SSEN’s large scale infrastructure projects which will help with this increasing demand for connections is the newly built substation at Tomatin, 16 miles south of Inverness. Construction started in January 2018, and prior to that the substation was three years in planning.

With the exterior complete and the work on the interiors progressing well, earlier this month saw the delivery of the two transformers which will sit at the heart of the £39m premises.

When it comes to the actual transformers themselves, the facts and figures make for interesting reading:

  • The transformers were manufactured in Milan, shipped to Inverness via Venice and then delivered by road to Tomatin, a total of over 4,000 miles.
  • Each transformer weighs 194 tonnes, which is roughly equivalent to 43 African elephants
  • The specialist haulage vehicles, including 3Nr. Large traction lorries, known as Trojans, each weigh 460 tonnes (loaded) and have a total of 280 wheels

Alistair Muir, SSEN’s Project Manager, said: “Watching the transformers make the final part of their journey down the A9 and on to our site at Tomatin was incredibly satisfying, as it marked the culmination of many months of hard work and planning behind the scenes by not only our own team, but also the manufacturers in Milan and our specialist haulier.”

Now that the transformers are in place, the construction phase of Tomatin substation is nearing completion, and SSEN is hoping to have it connected to the grid and energised in July 2019.

To see one of the transformers on the last leg of its journey to the Tomatin substation, click on the image above.

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.7 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

Read more articles by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks