Balfour Beatty secures contract for first phase of major Skye project

Handshake over construction documents

BALFOUR Beatty has been awarded the first phase of Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN) Transmission’s £690 million Skye 132kV reinforcement project.

On completion the project will ensure the supply of secure, clean electricity to thousands of homes and businesses across the Hebrides and West Highlands.

The detailed design and development phase, valued at £32 million, will see Balfour Beatty provide technical solutions for a new 137km, 132kV double circuit overhead line between the existing Fort Augustus and Edinbane substations, as well as new sealing end compounds to link the overhead line to the underground electricity network, ultimately joining the Isle of Skye and Western Isles to mainland Scotland.

Subject to planning approval, the full construction contract award is expected later in 2024. Due to the expansive and unique terrain, Balfour Beatty will engage its in-house environmental and sustainability team to consider ecological and environmental requirements, from peat management to wildlife translocation, contributing to SSEN Transmission’s biodiversity net gain targets.

In addition, the firm will work closely and collaboratively with local communities to minimise disruption wherever possible, including introducing a ‘Skye workers village’ to provide the construction workforce with dedicated site accommodation.

Tony Wilson, MD of Balfour Beatty’s power transmission and distribution business, said, “We have a long and proud history of working with SSEN Transmission. This most recent award is testament to our expertise and capability in delivering overhead lines and underground cabling works in complex and challenging environments.”

Paul Higginbotham, SSEN Transmission’s deputy project director for the Skye 132kV reinforcement project, added, “We’re pleased to strengthen our relationship with Balfour Beatty as a supply chain partner for the Skye 132kV Reinforcement Project, helping us deliver security of supply to homes and businesses along its route from Skye to Fort Augustus, as well as to the Western Isles.”

Main construction work for the Isle of Skye Reinforcement Project is expected to begin in early 2025. At project peak, Balfour Beatty said it will employ 650 people including 32 apprenticeship and graduate positions as part of the company’s commitment to The 5% Club.