Transformational work completed at Stockinish substation
SSEN Distribution’s new transformer at Stockinish substation is not only bringing a more robust and resilient power supply to around 500 homes and businesses in South Harris, the £500k project is also ensuring the local electricity network is primed to support the local community’s journey to net zero.
With the transformers each weighing around 20 tons, the task of removing the current one and installing its upgrade was never going to be a 10-minute job, requiring the use of a hydraulic crane and other specialist equipment, and so SSEN Distribution applied for a temporary overnight road closure on 22 June, the night after Summer Solstice.
George MacDonald, SSEN’s Project Manager who oversaw the work, explains more:
“Our project had been months in the planning, and after discussions with the local Highways department, we decided to go ahead with the replacement work overnight on 22 June – at that time of year there’s so much daylight it can really make a difference to our working conditions, and with the road closure being overnight it would cause the least amount of disruption in the local community.
“Needless to say, after all our planning and discussions, Mother Nature threw us a curveball – the night of the work saw us hit with some very unseasonal wind, rain and haar. After a reviewed risk assessment and a check on the weather forecast, we all agreed that it was safe to continue and so our teams set to work, first of all using a jacking system to remove the old transformer, before the crane lowered the new one into place. Thanks to everyone’s hard work and our trusty lighting rig, the work was completed safely and on time.”
George says that the increased capacity of the new transformer will also help engineers on the rare occasion the power goes off:
“We do all we can to provide our customers with the best service at all times but there are still occasions, for example, during storms and high winds, when a fault develops or equipment is damaged, causing the power to go off. With the extra capacity on the new transformer we can re-route customers onto different parts of our network to get them back on supply more quickly, and not just in the Stockinish area, we will also be able to temporarily provide power to around 400 customers in the Tarbert area too.”
Looking to the future, the upgraded transformer will also play a key part in the drive to net zero, as its extra capacity will be ensure the local network can meet the increase in demands from the forecasted growth in Low Carbon Technologies, such as EV chargers and heat pumps
The accompanying photo shows SSEN teams and their contractors working through the night to replace the transformer at Stockinish substation.