It has submitted two funding applications to Ofgem for the project, which is intended to reduce the visual impact of transmission infrastructure. If approved, underground cabling would replace 12km of overhead line and 46 existing transmission towers near the villages of Boat of Garten and Nethy Bridge.
The electricity and gas markets regulator, Ofgem, is responsible for administering a £500m fund for GB electricity transmission owners to mitigate the impact of existing electricity infrastructure in national parks and national scenic areas.
In response to the funding opportunity, SSEN is taking forward a number of engineering and landscaping proposals across its network region as part of its Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets (Vista) project.
Subject to Ofgem approval, SSEN’s first Cairngorm Vista proposal would remove 15 steel lattice towers and approximately 4km of overhead line between Docharn and the Boat of Garten substation. The second scheme would remove a further 31 steel lattice towers and approximately 8km of overhead line between the Boat of Garten substation and Craigmore Wood, to the north of Nethy Bridge.
Cairngorms National Park Authority CEO Grant Moir said: “We have been working with SSE on these projects and are pleased to see that these applications have now been submitted. They will build on the good work that has already taken place following the construction of the Beauly to Denny line, where some 300 towers were taken down within the Cairngorms National Park. The projects will result in nearly all the line in Strathspey being removed and it will make a significant improvement to the visual impact of the landscapes for the millions of visitors who come to the National Park every year.”