The Western Link is a £1 billion joint venture which responds to the future energy challenge in England, Scotland and Wales.
The existing Scottish electricity transmission system links to England and Wales are running at full capacity and an additional link is needed to enable new sources of renewable energy to connect into the electricity network. A new high voltage direct current (HVDC) connection was commissioned by National Grid and SP Transmission in a joint venture to build the Western Link.
TEP was part of the team delivering Converter Stations at the northern and southern points of connection at Hunterston, in Scotland, and Deeside Industrial Park in North Wales. TEP supported the Principal Contractor, Siemens Plc, in discharging the Planning Conditions for the two Converter Stations and has provided planning support throughout construction.
In addition to providing planning services at Hunterston, TEP coordinated the inputs of a range of external subconsultants, including ecologists and archaeologists, and managed the overall delivery of site specific mitigation measures through protected species licences and an extensive archaeological programme.
TEP also provided landscape design and management services for each of the Converter Stations to take account of essential mitigation measures and ecological enhancement. At Hunterston, the landscape design included extensive planting to provide a buffer to an existing area of ancient woodland. New tree and hedgerow was designed to enhance the connectivity of wildlife routes whilst restoring the adjacent fields to their former use as grazing land. At Deeside, the landscape design responded to the requirements of the Ecological Management Plan produced by TEP and included habitat creation and ecological enhancements developed through survey work by TEP’s in-house consultants prior to construction.
The Converter Stations are due to be commissioned in early 2018.