T Pylon Build national grid

National Grid erects the first less intrusive T-pylon

Image credit: national grid

National Grid has erected the world’s first ‘T-pylon’, which is shorter than traditional high-voltage pylons and has a smaller footprint on the ground.

They are the first new design for a pylon in Britain in nearly 100 years and plans are under way to install 116 new T-pylons in Somerset along a 57km route.

The T-pylons have a single pole and T-shaped cross arms which hold the wires in a diamond ‘earring’ shape. At just 35 metres high, they are a third shorter than National Grid’s traditional lattice pylons, and have a smaller footprint using less land.

The new pylons form part of National Grid’s Hinkley Connection project, a £900m investment to connect low carbon electricity from Hinkley Point C Nuclear power station.

They will run between Bridgwater and Portbury, other than through the Mendip Hills AONB where the new connection goes underground. The project also includes the removal of 249 electricity pylons between Bridgwater and Avonmouth. 

T Pylon Build national grid

Image credit: national grid

The new pylon design was selected from over 250 designs entered into an international competition run in 2011. The competition sought a new design to reduce impact on the local environment and surroundings.

Construction of the first 48 T-pylons by Balfour Beatty on behalf of National Grid began last week near East Huntspill, with each pylon taking roughly 5 days to build. Construction of the remaining 68 pylons, north of Sandford will begin in 2022.

Although these are the first T-pylons on the grid, a line of test structures was built in 2014-15 at National Grid's Eakring training college in Nottinghamshire.

Chris Bennett, acting president of National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “We are always looking for innovative new ways to mitigate the impact of our infrastructure on the natural environment and projects such as T pylons are a great example.

“This new design forms part of our significant investment in the network in England and Wales, adding capacity onto the grid to deliver increasing amounts of low carbon energy and support the UK’s drive towards its net zero target.”

Matt Steele, a Balfour Beatty managing director, said: “Our unique capability and extensive experience in delivering major, complex overhead line schemes, makes us ideally positioned to play a key role in constructing the world’s first T-pylons.

“We look forward to working with National Grid to successfully and safely deliver low-carbon electricity to millions of people, supporting the UK’s net zero ambitions.”

The Hinkley Connection project will be ready to connect to Hinkley Point C by the end of 2024, with the project complete at the end of 2025.

Hinkley Point C has had a tortured development process with final approval for the project being beset by delays and indecisiveness, as well as a ballooning budget.

Yesterday, the GMB Union has called for a new generation of nuclear power plants in order the help UK meet its 2050 net-zero carbon emissions pledge.

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