Balfour Beatty builds the world’s first T-pylon
14 September 2021
Balfour Beatty today announces that it has successfully built the world’s inaugural T-pylon on behalf of National Grid, representing the first new electricity pylon design in Great Britain for almost 100 years.
The T-pylon is the first of 116 to be erected along the 57-kilometer route in Somerset, South West England. The first 48 T-pylons near East Huntspill will be constructed this year while the remaining 68, north of Sandford, will be built in 2022.
Upon completion the newly designed pylons will connect six million homes and businesses in the surrounding area with low-carbon electricity generated at Hinkley Point C, the UK’s first nuclear power station in a generation.
The T-pylon design is the result of a 2011 international competition organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects and Government, with the aim of reducing the impact of electricity pylons on the local environment and surroundings.
Standing at 35 metres in height, the revolutionary new design forms a “T” shape and is approximately one-third shorter than the traditional lattice pylon design. As a result of its reduced size the T-pylon has a smaller land footprint and a reduced impact on the local environment.
While traditional pylons are typically erected in dozens of individual lifts, T-pylons are designed to be assembled in up to four sections, halving the usual construction time from around ten days to five. Secured in deep foundations and reinforced with a steel bolt cage, the four sections are lifted into place with a specialist crane and rig to secure them.
Matt Steele, Balfour Beatty’s Managing Director for its Rail and Utilities business, 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.”
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 T-pylons will be ready to connect to Hinkley Point C by the end of 2024 and the project is due for completion at the end of 2025.
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Notes to editors:
- Balfour Beatty (balfourbeatty.com) is a leading international infrastructure group with 26,000 employees driving the delivery of powerful new solutions, shaping thinking, creating skylines and inspiring a new generation of talent to be the change-makers of tomorrow.
- We finance, develop, build, maintain and operate the increasingly complex and critical infrastructure that supports national economies and deliver projects at the heart of local communities.
- Over the last 112 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including: the £1.5 billion A14 improvement scheme - Britain’s biggest road project; Hong Kong’s HK$5.5 billion world-class harbour theatre project for the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority; and the 12.5 mile $429 million North Metro Commuter Rail line in Colorado, US.
- Balfour Beatty’s Power Transmission & Distribution teams work with regional, national and international electricity network owners and operators to provide technical engineering solutions across the full spectrum of the electricity grid, including overhead lines, cabling, substations and distribution networks.
- From scoping and feasibility, to design, construction and on-going maintenance, our in-house experts, flexible resources and industry-leading innovations support clients in the development of some of the UK’s most ambitious power transmission and distribution projects.
- Significant projects in the company’s current portfolio include the £70 million contract to deliver Overhead Line works in the West of Scotland on behalf of Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc and the £300m contract with National Grid to deliver both the 400kV overhead line and 400kV cable works on the critical Hinkley Point C connection scheme.
- Additionally, the team will work on the £90 million contract to deliver the British onshore civils works for the Viking Link Interconnector project, on behalf of joint venture delivery partners; National Grid and Energinet.