National Grid has erected its first T-pylon in Somerset, Southwest England, demonstrating a new design for an electricity pylon.
The world’s first T-pylon, according to National Grid, will be one of 116 T-pylons along a 57km route, connecting energy to six million UK homes and businesses.
The T-pylons have a single pole and T-shaped cross arms which hold the wires in a diamond ‘earring’ shape. They are 35 metres high, 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 £900 million ($1.24 billion) investment to connect low carbon electricity from Hinkley Point C Nuclear power station. The project also includes the removal of 249 electricity pylons between Bridgwater and Avonmouth.
The new pylon 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 competition sought a new design to reduce the 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.
Chris Bennett, Acting President, 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.”
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.