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National Grid’s new electricity pylon


The first electricity pylon was built in 1928 near Edinburgh. Now almost 90 years later the National Grid is using a new design of electricity pylon at a site in Nottinghamshire.

Work began on the new pylons at National Grid’s training academy in Nottinghamshire in November. The six new pylons should be completed by the summer.

The new T-pylon is the result of a design competition held by the Department of Energy & Climate Change, the Royal Institute of British Architects and National Grid. It is shorter than the traditional pylon at only 36 metres high. The traditional pylon reaches 50 metres in height.

A prototype of the new pylon was tested in Denmark – home of the winning design company Bystrup. Now six of the new pylons will be built at National Grid’s training academy. There are actually five designs of the T-pylon. These will cover all eventualities such as turning corners or moving from overhead lines to underground cables.

The new pylons are easier to construct than traditional pylons – they take only a day rather than a week.

National Grid's new electricity pylonAn artist’s impression of how the pylons will look (Image courtesy of National Grid)

Why do we need new pylons?

The country is moving away from traditional sources of energy generation to renewables. So  we need new pylons to carry energy generated from sources such as wind and solar power. These don’t come from the central locations of traditional generators of energy such as coal fired power stations. Instead they come from coastal areas or remote rural locations.

These new pylons in Nottinghamshire won’t be connected to the grid. Initially they will be used for training purposes. The new design requires a different technique to fit the wires to the pylons. Engineers need to practice before they can erect them across the country.

The new pylons have been designed to be less intrusive than traditional pylons. Being shorter means they can follow the contours of the land more easily. It will also be easier to maintain the cables. Engineers will be able to work from elevated platforms rather than climb up the tower.

National Grid won’t replace all the traditional pylons with the new design. Instead they will be used for new projects. Permission is being sought to use the T-pylons at the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station being built in Somerset.

 

T-Pylon image courtesy of National Grid:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/national_grid/15820148585/

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