Subsidiaries of Scottish and Southern Energy and ScottishPower have submitted a proposal and initiated a public inquiry on a plan to replace the existing electricity transmission line connecting Beauly and Denny with a new 400,000 volt line.

The plan to replace the existing line has been submitted by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission, a subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy, and SP Transmission, a subsidiary of ScottishPower.

The major Scottish utilities justify the proposed development on the basis that bourgeoning demand for network access from new renewable generation developers is rapidly rendering the existing transmission capacity inadequate.

The development of the replacement transmission line will provide more reliable and less constrained electricity network capacity for around 2,300MW of renewable energy capacity in the North of Scotland, and will form a basis for growth in the long term, the firms say.

Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission and SP Transmission expect that constructing the new transmission line and associated substations, dismantling the existing line and reinstating the local environment around the existing line will require investment of around GBP320 million.

The public inquiry is expected to continue for most of 2007, and the report of the inquiry will be submitted to Scottish ministers in 2008 for a final decision.