SSEN Transmission will recruit 400 new employees across the north of Scotland in the next year as it set out ambitious plans to contribute to the development of 200 properties.

The company's latest investment programme will consist of new overhead lines, substations, convertor stations and subsea links and is part of a major upgrade of the electricity transmission system across the UK as its £20 billion clean energy infrastructure programme continues to develop. 

These works are required to meet UK and Scottish Government energy security and climate change targets.

First Minister Humza Yousaf (below) welcomed the new recruitment drive and commented: “SSEN Transmission’s Pathway to 2030 programme is a major investment in the future of our electricity networks in the north of Scotland, and this latest announcement demonstrates it is paying dividends in terms of creating long-term, high quality green jobs as well as benefits for the wider economy.

The National: Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf will speak at the event in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Projects like this embody and support the ambitions of our draft Energy Strategy and will be vital to delivering a fair and just transition for our energy workers.

“It is clear that SSEN Transmission is committed to investing in the skills and talent in the north of Scotland as we move towards that crucial just transition to net zero, which is necessary not just for our energy needs, but for the sake of the planet.”

SSEN Transmission is also announcing the first part of its accommodation strategy to "ensure the development of the projects impact locals in a positive way".

This includes a commitment to contribute to the development of at least 200 properties across the north of Scotland which, upon the completion of the transmission projects, will be handed to local organisations to provide accommodation for local people.

This is expected to include new and renovated homes, as well as fully serviced sites for temporary accommodation camps for workers.

Rob McDonald, managing director of SSEN Transmission, said: “This is one of the biggest investment programmes in the north of Scotland for almost a century. Our £20bn programme will help unlock cleaner, more secure energy for homes and businesses for generations to come.

“The north of Scotland can be a clean energy powerhouse and is set to play a leading role in delivering UK and Scottish Government energy security and net zero targets, but the benefits go way beyond energy.

“Our investments will enable thousands of skilled, green jobs across the region, placing multi-million-pound contracts with local supply chain partners and investing in community funds, creating billions of economic value for Scotland.

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“The benefits are compelling, but as with any major infrastructure programme, we need to ensure that we effectively consult and act on the views of local communities.

"This is exactly what we are doing, and in outlining a range of significant alterations to our plans today – directly in response to community feedback – we have shown that we will act on the views of our stakeholders wherever possible.

“We now look forward to ongoing constructive engagement with local communities and wider stakeholders to help further inform the development of this critical national infrastructure in a way that balances the needs of all stakeholders, alongside delivering a lasting and positive legacy, unlocking the north of Scotland’s energy and economic potential.”

SSEN also published reports on consultations across its three new overhead line projects and associated substation and convertor station developments. 

Changes to the plans informed by feedback include:

  • At Blackhillock in Moray, the proposed new substation site is moving from that consulted on earlier this year to the east of Keith, to one of the other shortlisted sites to the south east of the existing Blackhillock substation
  • The previously proposed new substation at Fiddes in the Mearns is moving to a new site in Fetteresso Forest in close proximity to the existing Fetteresso substation
  • Several changes to and decisions on overhead line routes to reduce community impacts