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UK Power Networks bolsters electrical infrastructure in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire

Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire are set to see improvements to their electricity infrastructure thanks to a £35 million investment from UK Power Networks. 

The significant upgrade, centered around Little Barford, aims to enhance the power supply’s capacity and reliability, affecting around 190,000 properties in Cambridge, Bedford, and St Neots.

The extensive project, initiated in 2018 and now operational, represents one of the most substantial infrastructure investments in the region in recent years. It encompassed the installation of new cable circuits, the re-routing of existing overhead power lines, and the erection of new towers.

Significant changes were made at the Little Barford site, including the dismantling of all old equipment and the installation of new infrastructure under protective coverings. The replacement involved removing ten-metre high concrete frames, with one remaining temporarily to allow house martins to nest.

UK Power Networks undertook the project with the help of its Alliance partners Kier, Wood, and Morrison Energy Services. The team successfully installed new 132,000-volt underground cables extending 2.5km between Little Barford and Eaton Socon. The installation process employed directional drilling techniques to minimize environmental impact while navigating under main roads, a river, and a golf course.

This enhancement is set to future-proof local power supplies and facilitate the integration of more low carbon electricity generation into the grid. This comes as an increasing number of residents connect renewable energy sources, heat pumps, and electric vehicles to the local electricity network, marking a step towards the UK’s Net Zero ambitions.

The project’s success was attributed to collaborative efforts with the adjacent power station and other stakeholders, ensuring smooth progression of the works. Arinze Udenwa, Project Manager at UK Power Networks, stated, “The improvement works at Little Barford have replaced old equipment with modern kit that will increase network reliability for years to come.”

Improvement projects like those in Little Barford will be important for the UK as it moves towards a more decarbonised grid. To meet those decarbonisation goals, the IEA has estimated it will need around $600 billion worth of investment in grid upgrades around the world.

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