National Grid has energised 36 ‘world first’ T-pylons in the south-west of England.
High-voltage electricity – up to 400,000 volts – is now passing through the T-pylons between Bridgwater and Loxton in Somerset, a newly constructed electricity substation at Sandford, and 8.5km of underground cables through the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A further 80 T-pylons are set to be completed and energised by 2024.
Construction of the first T-pylons began in September 2021, with all the conductors or wires that transmit the energy between Bridgwater and Loxton installed by March 2022.
The T-pylon design, the first major UK redesign since 1927, has a single pole and cross shaped arms, and is around a third shorter than traditional high-voltage pylon design with a smaller ground footprint.
The new design was selected from over 250 designs entered into an international competition run in 2011, organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects and government (the then Department of Energy and Climate Change).
Each new transmission network project is assessed on a case-by-case basis, with the technology used by National Grid based on planning policy and regulations set by Ofgem as well as engineering, environmental, and cost considerations.
Steven Haskayne, project director for National Grid, said: “We’re extremely proud to have reached this significant milestone on the Hinkley Connection Project.
“The T-pylons are now reinforcing and strengthening the network in the south-west and are ready for the connection of low-carbon energy when Hinkley Point C starts generating.
“This new design forms part of our significant investment in the network in England and Wales, adding capacity onto the grid to deliver low-carbon electricity to millions of people across the UK to use for years to come, and helping the UK’s journey towards net-zero.”
Minister for Nuclear and Networks Andrew Bowie said: “As the minister for Networks, I am delighted to see National Grid reach this impressive milestone.
“The world’s first T-pylon design will connect millions of homes with reliable, low-carbon electricity.
“I look forward to visiting National Grid’s world-leading Hinkley Connection project this week to see first-hand their innovative network infrastructure that is placing the south-west at the heart of the UK’s plans to deliver green growth and energy security.”
Image: A new national grid T-pylon. Credit: National Grid
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