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ED1SON Alliance achieves major milestone in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire

Jordan O'Brien

Jordan O'Brien

Contributing Editor
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Little Barford Substation

UK Power Networks, along with its ED1SON Alliance partners, has reached a significant milestone in the installation of brand-new electrical infrastructure between Little Barford and Eaton Socon. 

The project, which sees new cabling, the introduction of a new Supergrid transformer, and new electrical switching equipment, was initially deemed as too complicated. However, UK Power Networks leveraged its ED1SON Alliance partnership with Kier, Wood and Morrison Energy Services to ensure the project could go ahead.

In fact, it’s not only on time, but it’s also within the £35 million budget laid out for the works. That’s important, as the project is one of the most significant upgrades to the region’s electricity infrastructure in years. 

The latest stage saw the new equipment between Little Barford and Eaton Socon energised at the end of last month. This includes a brand-new 132,000 volt underground cable which stretches the 2.5km distance between the two sites. 

The new cable route was achieved using a series of long and complex directional drills to minimise the impact on the local infrastructure and environment. The drilling went under two major roads, a river and a golf course during its progress.

There are still some major upgrades to come, however, with the aforementioned Supergrid transformer at Eaton Socon not set to come online until 2023. That is designed to reinforce the electricity network’s capacity, getting the grid ready for the onslaught of renewables, electric vehicles and heat pumps. 

Additionally, new electrical switching equipment at Little Barford substation owned by UK Power Networks will ensure the continued security of supply to 190,000 customers locally in Cambridge, Bedford and St Neot’s and future-proof supplies, as well as enabling the connection of more low carbon electricity generation.

Geraint Hancock, project manager for UK Power Networks, commented, “The continued success of this project is the result of dedicated teamwork across the Alliance and fine engineering. We have overcome some significant logistical challenges to make this happen.

“Little Barford’s new cable connection to Eaton Socon ensures it will remain robust in the future, and there is a lasting community benefit in terms of safe and reliable power supplies for homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.”

UK Power Networks introduced its ED1SON Alliance in 2015, a partnership of four key contractors implementing major infrastructure projects. The company distributes electricity supplies across London, the South East and East of England, and this is part of a £600 million annual investment to upgrade and maintain its networks.

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