PICTURES: Noss Head switching station teams 'can be proud of what they have achieved'
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The energy firm behind the Noss Head HVDC switching station project has been told that it can be proud of what it has done for the community.
Teams from SSEN Transmission, principal contractor BAM Nuttall and subcontractors have supported a number of good causes in Caithness since starting work on the huge structure to the north of Wick.
It will play a key role in connecting renewable energy from Shetland to the transmission system via a 260km subsea cable.
At the August meeting of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council, members were told that tens of thousands of trees, shrubs and wild flowers are being planted around the switching station.
Chairperson Joanna Coghill said: “It looks quite impressive and I don't think it is going to stand out like a sore thumb once the trees and shrubs are established.
“SSEN Transmission should be quite proud of what they have achieved community-wise. They've done a lot behind the scenes.”
Mrs Coghill noted that the switching station is the first of its kind in Europe. “Hopefully, all being well, it will be a great success,” she said.
Community liaison manager Sharon Powell gave an online update during Monday's community council meeting.
She explained that the main civil works are done, with only snagging outstanding.
Some 20,000 trees, shrubs and wild flowers have been planted on and around the bunded areas at the site, with a further 15,000 to be planted later.
Hitachi Energy has begun equipment installation within the switch hall and is said to be making good progress.
Cable pulling to all the equipment is under way, with completion of this work due by the end of August.
Commissioning is to start in September, running until the end of the year.
Community councillors have toured the site with construction manager Andrew Henderson.
“Andrew Henderson gave a fantastic presentation – very informative," community councillor Allan Bruce said at this week's meeting.
“It was good to see how many local firms have been involved as well. The standard of the workmanship looked very good.”
Highland Council leader Raymond Bremner, one of the four ward members for Wick and East Caithness, pointed out that he had met Finlay McCutcheon, SSE Renewables' director of onshore renewables (Europe), during a recent visit to Gordonbush Extension wind farm in Sutherland and that Mr McCutcheon has accepted an invitation to come to Caithness.