Millions to be spent on regional power network in “biggest investment”

The power station at Little Barford is to be upgraded. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The power station at Little Barford is to be upgraded. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Work is under way to boost the reliability of power supplies for homes and businesses across Cambridgeshire – in what has been described as one of the region’s “biggest electricity infrastructure investments” for many years.

A £35million project by UK Power Networks alongside its partners Kier, Wood and Morrison Utility Services, will see a new 132,000-volt underground cable installed at Little Barford and a new ‘supergrid transformer’ installed at National Grid’s substation at Eaton Socon, increasing the electricity network capacity.

The project will also see electrical equipment dating from the 1960s replaced at Little Barford substation to ensure the continued security of supply to 190,000 customers in the area. UK Power Networks says this will effectively future-proof power supplies in Bedford, Huntingdon and Cambridge and promote the connection of additional low carbon electricity generation.

The new cable route will cover a distance of 3km, and the use of directional drilling will minimise disruption. The work has been planned without needing road closures or power outages, the firm says.

Initial demolition work of concrete supporting structures has already taken place, and directional drilling has started on the project. The new electrical equipment will be energised next autumn with completion expected in 2023.

Geraint Hancock, project manager for UK Power Networks, said: “This is one of our largest projects in recent years, and a hugely important piece of work for our continued delivery of safe and reliable power supplies.

“Little Barford has a long history dating from the 1940s and this investment will ensure it will remain a robust asset in the future with the new cable connection to Eaton Socon making a significant and positive difference with increased low carbon technology.

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“This is an outstanding example of UK Power Networks and its partners working together, alongside other organisations such as the National Grid, to ensure homes and businesses in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire see a real and lasting benefit in terms of network security.”

UK Power Networks introduced its ED1SON Alliance in 2015, a partnership of four key contractors implementing major infrastructure projects.

The company delivers electricity supplies across London, the South East and East of England, and this is part of the £600 million annual investment to upgrade and maintain its networks - as part of a £6.6 billion investment during the eight years to 2023.