Substation upgrade transforms local electricity network in Abernethy

A £700,000 project to upgrade and strengthen the electricity network for almost 700 customers in Abernethy is progressing well and is on schedule to be completed early next month.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution is working on a major refurbishment of its Abernethy substation, a project which will mean a more robust and resilient supply of electricity across the local community not just now, but for many years to come.

With an eye to the future and the prospect of more homes and businesses connecting to the local electricity network, part of the substation upgrade includes the installation of a new transformer which will treble the operating capacity of the network as well as increasing its resilience and efficiency.

The transformer which is being removed is earmarked for installation at SSEN’s Dalrulzion substation 30 miles away, where it will help to improve network reliability and minimise the risk of power cuts.

SSEN’s Project Engineer, John Johnston, says that the work is not only essential to increase the reliability and resilience of the local network, the £700,000 project is also demonstrating SSEN’s commitment to the drive for net zero:

“To help meet the country’s net zero ambitions, it’s important we ensure our electricity network is ready ahead of the forecasted increase in the use of electric vehicles, heat pumps and other new low carbon technologies. Our upgrade project in Abernethy is a great example of this forward-thinking in action and a huge step towards meeting our customers' future needs.

“On a local level, this project is a win-win benefiting both Perthshire communities, as the redeployment of the existing Abernethy transformer at the substation in Dalrulzion is improving the reliability of our network for customers in both areas. And it’s also far more environmentally sustainable than manufacturing a new brand-new transformer.” 

Working during the coronavirus pandemic has brought its own challenges, and John explains the additional safety measures that he and his teams have been following to keep the local community and colleagues safe:

“Safety is our number one priority, and so in addition to enhanced PPE we’re all wearing and the use of sanitation stations across the site, we’ve kept the Abernethy upgrade team as small as possible. Another COVID-specific measure we’ve introduced has seen staff travelling to and from site separately, and we’ve all been ensuring strict social distancing rules are being followed.”

The Abernethy project team aims to have the substation energised for the first week in March.

The above photo shows Abernethy substation with the newly installed transformer to the left of shot.

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Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.8 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.

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