National Grid’s Hinkley Connection Project has reached a second milestone with the completion of all 116 of its iconic new T-pylons, which will connect six million homes and businesses in the South West of England to nuclear energy from Hinkley C nuclear power plant.
The last of the T-structures’ 232 diamond-shaped insulators – which hold the high voltage conductors in an ‘earring’ shape – was recently lifted by crane into place on a T-pylon between Yatton and Kenn in North Somerset by National Grid and principal contractor Balfour Beatty.
Representing what is considered a world first for pylon design, the first T–Pylon was constructed in September 2021 near East Huntspill. T-pylons are quicker to erect than traditional lattice pylons, and 47 more T-pylons were completed – including installation of the conductors – by the end of 2022.
36 of the T-pylons are in the Woolavington and Loxton line, which was energised in early 2023. At the same time work began to build the 68 T-pylons running north of Sandford substation to Portbury. With the hanging of the final diamond insulator, those 68 T-pylon structures are now complete. All the new pylons are due to be energised by the end of 2024, when the last of 249 traditional lattice structures and 67 km of overhead wires will be removed from the landscape to make way for the new electricity connection.
- The T-pylons were designed to reduce the visual impact on the landscape of the 57 km connection route as a direct response to community feedback. At 35m high, they are a third shorter than National Grid’s traditional lattice transmission pylons and take up a smaller land area.
Image: The T-pylon diamond insulators veing installed