National Grid has finished building the first of 60 new pylons for the Richborough Connection project, a new 400kV overhead line between Richborough and Canterbury which will allow electricity to flow between the UK and Europe
The new 20km line will connect Nemo Link -high voltage electricity cables under the sea between the former Ricborough Towers site and Herdersbrug in Belgium – into the high voltage electricity network.
The project involves subsea cables coming ashore at the service station area at Pegwell Bay, close to where the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm cables come ashore. Once onshore, the underground cables are routed through the Pegwell Bay Country Park and beneath the road from BayPoint Sports Club to the Richborough site.
The first pylon has been built at the junction of Broad Oak Road and Vauxhall Road just outside Canterbury. Engineers from Murphy Ethel Joint Venture (MEJV), used over 5,000 steel parts and 66 bags of bolts to construct it with the aid of a 150-tonne crane. The pylon stands 47m tall and weighs just over 25 tonnes.
Graham Dolamore, Project Director for National Grid, said: “This is the first step in what is a significant project for Kent and for the UK as a whole. This is the first major new power line to be built in the county since the UK electricity transmission system was built in 1961 and it will play a vital role in helping us supply the electricity needed by homes across the county, the region and beyond.
“However, we won’t lose sight of what is important locally. Our work won’t involve any interruption to peoples’ electricity supplies and we’ll make sure we carry it out in a way which causes as little disruption as possible.”
John Murphy, CEO of Murphy, said: “We are extremely proud to be supporting National Grid in the successful delivery of this major piece of infrastructure. Our consistent delivery comes from planning and dependable project management. Our direct delivery model, enabled by great people and our better engineering capability, will allow us to find creative ways to solve problems alongside National Grid.”
Construction is also taking place at Canterbury North substation and Richborough substation, to install new equipment, upgrade the existing technology and extend the substation buildings, ready for the new connection.
Site offices have been set up near Westbere and at Richborough, and a number of temporary roads have been built to access the areas where the new pylons are being built.
The new overhead line will be ready to connect Nemo Link late this year and the UK Power Networks’ line will be taken down between 2019 and 2021.
The work follows the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s decision in August 2017 to give the Richborough project the green light. This followed a lengthy consultation process which sought the views of local land owners, tenants, the local community and stakeholders.
For more information, people can visit the project website at www.richboroughconnection.co.uk or call the project hotline on Freephone 0800 157 7878.