Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks has energized the initial section of the £1.1bn Caithness-Moray transmission link between Knocknagael and Kintore.
The company said the 275kV overhead line is now live and linked to the expanded Blackhillock substation, near Keith, after almost three years of work by the project team.
The remaining 400kV and 132kV circuits are scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2017 and their commissioning is also underway.
The Blackhillock substation will connect to the 1.2GW DC cable from Caithness, with work to install the 113km subsea link due to begin in 2017.
Transmission programmes east project director Tony Scott said: “Caithness-Moray represents the largest investment in the electricity network in the north of Scotland since hydro development in the 1950s. Once complete, it will significantly reinforce the country’s transmission network and aid our transition to a low-carbon economy.
“I’m delighted to mark this first milestone, particularly as it has been delivered exactly to the schedule we set out three years ago. This is testament to the operational excellence of our teams, who are now committed to building on this good start in future construction phases of the project.”
Upon completion, the Caithness-Moray link will provide enough energy for about 2,000,000 residents in Scotland.
Swiss power automation firm ABB secured a contract to design, engineer, supply and commission two landbased 320 kV HVDC Light converter stations, one rated 1,200MW at Blackhillock in Moray and another rated 800MW situated at Spittal in Caithness.
The contract also includes the supply, installation and commissioning of submarine and underground cables covering a total length of 160km.
Image: Caithness-Moray transmission link energises first line between Knocknagael and Kintore Photo: Courtesy of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.