Page last updated at 08:27 GMT, Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Ministers due to approve 400m Beauly-Denny power line

Pylon with wind turbines in background
The pylons would carry electricity generated by renewable power projects

Controversial plans for a line of giant pylons from the Highlands to central Scotland are expected to be approved by the Scottish government.

Ministers are also due to outline the conditions under which the project could go ahead, after it received more than 18,000 objections.

About 600 pylons, some more than 200ft in height, would connect renewable power projects to the national grid.

The line would run from Beauly, west of Inverness, to Denny, near Falkirk.

The scheme would help to achieve the Scottish government's target to meet 50% of Scotland's electricity needs through renewable power by 2020.

The £400m project would carry 400,000 volts (400kV), replacing the existing 132kV line, which runs along a similar route.

Supporters said the scheme - which has divided environmentalists and green energy advocates - was needed to help meet renewable energy commitments.

The power line would run from Beauly to Denny

But concerns have been raised over the impact to landscape of the massive pylons and a lack of detail over alternative to options to the 137-mile route, which passes through the Cairngorms National Park.

The plan has been the subject of a public inquiry, the recommendations of which the Scottish government has had for almost a year.

Ministers will outline their decision in a statement to the Scottish Parliament.

Opposition parties said the move was long overdue.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) is behind the project through its licensed transmission company, Scottish Hydro-Electric Transmission Ltd (SHETL). SP Transmission Ltd (SPT) is also involved.

They plan to expand the existing substation at Beauly, which currently handles power from hydro-electric schemes, and link it to a new cable carrying electricity from wind farms on the Western Isles.

At the other end of the line, a substation would be built on a new site at Denny, where a number of transmission lines intersect.

The scheme would help reach the Scottish government's target to meet 50% of Scotland's electricity needs through renewable sources by 2020.

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Financial TimesBusiness hails power line move - 4 hrs ago
Daily Express Ministers throw switch on 137-mile power line - 6 hrs ago
The Scotsman Court fight looms after pylons go-ahead - 7 hrs ago Green light given to 137-mile power line - 11 hrs ago
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