09 September, 2019

People in Scotland are urged to back the Stronelairg & Melgarve Substations Project to win the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) People’s Choice Award, which celebrates the best civil engineering projects of the year that have made a positive impact for their local communities.

Stronelairg wind farm is a 66-turbine wind farm situated south east of Fort Augustus in the Highlands. The substation – located 700m above sea level - takes energy from the windfarm and increases the voltage. The connected Melgarve substation then steps up that voltage and connects the power into an overhead line. This green energy now connected to the grid will power 188,000 homes and save 300,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The Stronelairg & Melgarve Substations Project is competing against projects including the Northern Spire Bridge in Sunderland, the Shed cultural centre in New York City, the Colwyn Bay Waterfront in Wales, and a children’s surgery facility in Leeds.

Hannah Smith, ICE Scotland Regional Director, said:

“Civil engineering is all around us, with the Stronelairg & Melgarve Substations providing a fantastic example of how civil engineers safeguard the future for people and their families.

This project has played a key part in delivering green energy within a very challenging environment. Construction took place during the coldest winter in many years with the team facing 7m high snowdrifts, minus 30 degrees temperatures plus 100mph winds.

The project and talented delivery team deserve to be recognised and the People’s Choice Award gives members of the community the perfect opportunity to celebrate how this project has made a difference.”

Adrian Collins, Operations Manager at BAM Nuttall said:

“We are delighted that the Stronelairg and Melgarve Substation project has been nominated by the ICE for the People’s Choice Award. Working and living in such remote, high altitude locations, over two extreme winters brought its own unique challenges.

A fully engaged project team pulled together with a real sense of pride and remained committed to achieve the tight challenging programme. The real success was working together as part of a wider team, all focused on delivering these major renewable energy infrastructure works for Scotland with an exemplary safety performance. The success is a testament to all those involved and the contributions and efforts they all made.”

Voting is open now at and closes on 27 September. (All voters will be entered into a prize draw to win an Amazon Echo.) The public can follow award updates on social media using #ICEPeopleschoice. The winning project will be revealed on 12 November.

In 2018, over 70,000 people around the world cast a vote for one of their favourite civil engineering projects, with the top prize going to the Kaikōura earthquake recovery project in New Zealand. The project rebuilt 194 kilometres of road and 150 kilometres of rail, restoring links to isolated communities, following the damage caused by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in November 2016.

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