Electricity is being transmitted along part of a controversial power line for the first time.
Energy company SSE announced that the first section of the Beauly to Denny line had been energised and was now “live”.
It comes two and a half years after the Scottish Government gave the go-ahead to the project, with Mark Mathieson, SSE’s managing director of networks, describing it as a “proud moment” for the company.
The 137 mile-long power line, which was designed to help carry renewable energy generated in the Highlands to central Scotland, won the approval of Scottish ministers in January 2010.
This was despite strong objections from countryside campaigners who feared the project would destroy some of Scotland’s most scenic areas and could damage tourism.
The bulk of the new line is being carried out by SSE, with Scottish Power constructing a 12-mile stretch from Denny northwards, taking in most of Stirlingshire.
Work of the north section of the new power line started in 2012, with 136 of the new pylons now installed, SSE said.
Mr Mathieson said “This is a proud moment for SSE.
“Our progress is testament to the teamwork which identified the need for the line, guided it through planning and has now delivered the first section of the UK’s longest transmission line through some of its most challenging terrain.
“Over the past two years, the project has generated around £86 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Scottish economy and created around 1,500 jobs.”
Niall Stuart, chief executive of the trade association Scottish Renewables, welcomed the progress on the line and said: “This newly-upgraded line will help support many renewable energy projects in the north of Scotland, providing thousands of homes and businesses across the country with clean, renewable electricity.
“Upgrading grid infrastructure is one of our biggest challenges in reaching the 2020 target of generating the equivalent of 100% of our electricity needs from renewables and its major investment projects like the Beauly-Denny transmission line which will help us achieve this.”