SP Energy to invest over £10 million in Glasgow substation

By Dominic Ellis
Part of a larger £50m modernisation project at SP Energy Networks’ Windyhill substation, the project will take four years to complete and create 40 jobs

SP Energy Networks has announced plans to invest more than £10m in new environmentally friendly technology at an electricity substation in Glasgow, as the city welcomes the UN COP26 climate change conference.

The investment, part of a larger £50m modernisation project at SP Energy Networks’ Windyhill substation, will take four years to complete and create 40 jobs. The substation was originally commissioned in the 1960s and is now being brought firmly into the 21st century through the new technology.

The substation, located between Bearsden and Clydebank, is the second SP Energy Networks site in the UK to roll out this sustainable technology to minimise the environmental impact of its operations. This development is part of the electricity firm’s commitment to a greener, low carbon future.

SP Energy Networks’ new gas-insulated busbar technology has been developed in partnership with Hitachi Energy and uses a greener alternative to sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), the most commonly used insulator for electrical equipment in substations across the UK. There are plans to roll out the technology across its UK electricity network in the coming years.

This project will avoid more than 3,000kgs of SF6 being added to SP Energy Networks’ network. This represents over 30% of the commitment made by SP Energy Networks in their RIIO-T2 plan, which aims to avoid at least 9,700 kg of SF6 being added to the network during the price control period from 2021 to 2026.

Substations exist to 'step down' high voltage electricity from the transmission system to lower voltage electricity so it can be easily supplied to homes and businesses through power lines.

SP Energy Networks currently owns and operates a large network of substations across its licence areas in Scotland, North West England and Wales.

Pearse Murray, SP Transmission Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “We’re continuously evolving our operations and looking for ways to make our network more environmentally sustainable. The introduction of this greener technology developed by Hitachi Energy is a major step forward in our push towards achieving Net Zero emissions in the future.

“The eyes of the world are on Glasgow just now with the COP26 climate change conference taking place in the city. Introducing this new technology will have a legacy long beyond COP26 and it cements our position leading the way towards more sustainable substations. We’re proud of our innovative approach to delivering a greener future for our customers.”

Markus Heimbach, Managing Director High Voltage Products at Hitachi Energy, said: “We are honoured to be SP Energy Networks’ partner of choice in the acceleration of Scotland’s energy transitionFollowing more than two decades of intensive R&D, we have been deploying SF6-free high-voltage technologies and helping our customers to reduce their carbon footprint." 

SP Energy Networks is investing a total of £10bn in the clean energy generation and networks infrastructure needed to help the UK decarbonise and reach net zero emissions. It owns and manages overhead and underground powerlines in Central and Southern Scotland as well as Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire.

The company is using a new network monitoring system to maximise electrical capacity for green energy solutions during COP26. Working in partnership with engineering production firm EA Technology, it is installing ‘VisNet’ monitors across its network in Scotland.

Low carbon technologies, like electric vehicles, require a significant amount of electrical capacity, and by utilising innovative solutions like the VisNet monitors, we are able to manage the demand from these types of technology so more and more can be used across its network.


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