2005-08-23 - ABB and Balfour Beatty consortium is making good progress on Central Networks’ £12 million GIS 132kV switching station replacement project on the banks of the River Severn
Central Networks’ £12 million replacement GIS (gas insulated switchgear) switching station, which an ABB and Balfour Beatty consortium is constructing on the banks of the River Severn, at Port Ham, Gloucester, has just passed a key milestone with the successful energisation of the interconnector circuit. Three feeder circuits and a Supergrid circuit have also been transferred from the old AIS (air insulated switchgear) switching station, and the project team will maintain the pace for the rest of the construction season by transferring an additional circuit each month until the end of October.
Port Ham interconnector switching station is a grid supply point, which feeds electricity from the National Grid substation at Walham into Central Networks’ distribution network. This network feeds most of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and parts of south and east Worcestershire the equivalent of over one million homes. The existing switching station, built in the early 1950s, has been subject to above average load growth and its reliability has deteriorated. It has now reached the end of its useful life and is being replaced to ensure continued reliability of supply. The use of ABB’s GIS switchgear has enabled the replacement switching substation to be housed indoors in a new purpose-built building which occupies less than one quarter of the space currently used by the conventional AIS (air insulated switchgear) switching station.
The ABB and Balfour Beatty consortium is providing a complete design, construction and installation service for the new switching station, which features 20 bays of switchgear and will provide a 132kV interconnection for four incoming and 12 outgoing circuits. Tom Smith, ABB’s project manager for Port Ham said:
'We will have eight out of 16 circuits transferred by October this year, which puts us bang on target to have the new switching station fully commissioned for the end of 2006. Transferring circuits calls for planned outages, so our season on this project runs from April to October - from when the clocks go forward to when they go back. This is timed to ensure that there is no supply disruption to Central Networks customers during the peak winter period. Also the position of the site on the river flood plain presents some challenges for working during winter. The switching station is on raised ground, and the building itself is on stilts, and in one period of heavy rain it became an island surrounded by flood water.'
Central Networks is the new name for Midlands Electricity and East Midlands Electricity. The company brings power to 4.8 million customers across the East and West Midlands through 133,000km of underground and overhead cables and via almost 97,000 substations. Central Networks covers an area from the Peak District in the north to parts of Bristol in the south, and from the Welsh Borders to the Lincolnshire Coast.
ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 102,000 people.