ABB starts to make ‘The London Connection’

2004-08-14 - A 400kV cable which will deliver more power to central London has started the 20km underground pull from Elstree to St John’s Wood

ABB’s three-year project to help National Grid deliver more power to central London has reached a key stage with the 400kV cable beginning the 20km underground pull from Elstree to St John’s Wood.

The £40 million turnkey project, known as ‘The London Connection’, is part of National Grid’s programme to upgrade the power grid for North West London and the City area. Running in a 20km long three-metre diameter tunnel – the largest tunnelling project that National Grid has ever undertaken- the cable will link a new substation at Elstree to the new indoor high-voltage GIS (gas insulated switchgear) substation that ABB has been building at St John’s Wood.

The 400kV connection is using ABB’s high-technology cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation technology, which requires less maintenance than conventional oil and gas filled cables.

ABB is supplying, installing, commissioning and testing 61km of 150mm diameter cable, weighing a total of 2,440 tonnes and delivered on 63 massive drums. The cable comprises three separate lengths, one for each phase of the three-phase electricity supply, and is being pulled in three sections from Elstree to Cricklewood, from Cricklewood to Elstree and from Cricklewood to St John’s Wood, with the longest section being around 7.5km. ABB is using a special arrangement of winches, cable rollers, brakes and pulling equipment to ensure smooth and safe cable pulling down the shafts and through the tunnel.

The cable system is planned to be ready for energisation in Summer 2005.

ABB Background
ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 105,000 people.

National Grid Company plc [www.nationalgrid.com/uk]

National Grid Company plc is part of National Grid Transco, an international energy delivery business, whose principal activities are in the regulated electricity and gas industries.

In the UK National Grid owns and operates the high voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales. It has a statutory duty under the Electricity Act 1989 to develop and maintain an efficient, co-ordinated and economical system of electricity transmission and to facilitate competition in the supply and generation of electricity.

Local Distribution Network operators depend on National Grid to supply power on demand. It is vital that National Grid has the means to meet demand and transmit electricity safely and efficiently.

The transmission network includes 7000 kms of overhead lines, over 600 kms of underground cables, and some 320 substations. It balances supply of electricity with demand on a minute by minute basis.

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    Cable pulling - NGT
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