The project is part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s initiative to support planned housing growth of around 3,000 homes to the east of the town. A traditional ‘breaking the ground’ event marked work starting on National Grid’s 400kV substation and UK Power Networks’ new grid substation, that will increase power capacity in Biggleswade and help the community move towards a low carbon economy.
UK Power Networks and National Grid looked into various technology solutions to deliver the extra 80MW of power required. This detailed assessment included reinforcing existing infrastructure and providing power for other existing substations. These options were discounted because they either failed to meet the power requirements needed or presented significant and unnecessary engineering and cost difficulties.
The National Grid compound for a 400kV substation will measure approximately 150m by 130m and have a maximum height of 15m to connect to the existing overhead power lines. The UK Power Networks compound (Biggleswade East Grid) will have a footprint of approximately 180m by 100m and a maximum height of 9m.
UK Power Networks Project Manager, Geraint Hancock says: “The start of construction on site is a significant milestone to achieve and is the culmination of 18 months’ of design, surveys, studies and extensive consultation. We have designed a scheme with National Grid that will make the electricity network for Biggleswade fit for the future. Construction works will take around three years to complete with energisation planned in the winter of 2024.”
Mark Beasley, Project Director for National Grid says: “We invest around £1 billion each year in the electricity transmission system, delivering the fastest decarbonising electricity network in the world with world-class reliability. We are delighted to be a part of this project, connecting and increasing power capacity to Biggleswade, supporting investment in the town and enabling a secure supply of electricity to the area for the decades to come.”
Councillor Richard Wenham, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, says: “This new electricity substation will meet the growing energy needs of the local community and provide the essential power to support new homes, business opportunities, and jobs.
“As we look to do our bit for the planet, and as more people shift to electric vehicles or clean energy to heat their homes, the new substation will help support the important sustainability agenda.”
The Council secured £70million of government funding via Homes England Housing Infrastructure Fund for a number of schemes, including this power project.