Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Power-line upgrade

The Scottish Parliament was told this afternoon that the Scottish Government has approved the proposed upgrade to the Beauly to Denny powerline. It means that pylon towers of more than 200 feet will be marching across the iconic Highland landscape to carry all the power to the Scottish Central Belt and beyond, which is to be generated by renewable energy schemes across the Highlands and Islands. When this is to become a reality is as yet not known, and it certainly won't happen in the next few years.

This issue is a double-edged sword. I deliberately used the words "renewable energy schemes", to make clear it would not just be for windfarms, but also for wave- and tidal energy projects. I have previously expressed my opposition to the upgrade, and maintain that stance. From my perspective, the economic mainstay of one part of the country is sacrificed for the greater good - and you can take that "good" with a large pinch of salt.

Electricity is something we all need in increasing amounts, but how that energy comes to the consumer "darn sarf" is still debatable. A sub-sea cable round the coast was mentioned on Radio Scotland this morning, for instance.


  1. Am always slightly baffled by opposition to huge pylons marching across the highlands etc. The mountains and glens are strewn with them from scenic Cairngorm to the roads leading to Inverness and Ullapool. Even the wilds of Lewis are littered with telephone poles. Most of these are viewed from great scars of concrete roads and dual carriageway. You tune them out. Scenery like that doesn't bow to behemoths and manmade structures. Rather they dominate it. Can't say I'd like to live underneath the super pylons but as an aesthetic they just get lost in the grand schemes...

  2. I entirely agree with the Crofts comments. I was 11 years of age before "going away" to the mainland and to this day I look at Electricity Pylons as an icon of the Highlands. The coming of electricity and water to rural Lewis and Harris came after WW2 - i.e in the 1950s and these two things brought huge improvements to these Islands. Even the greens, on balance, welcome the announcement today for the go ahead of the Beauly Denny Line. It is FANTASTIC good news for the Island and the environment.