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UKPN introduces ‘green’ transformers to aid decarbonisation

Installation of Smart Wires devices for UKPN's LoadShare trial. Image: UKPN.

Installation of Smart Wires devices for UKPN's LoadShare trial. Image: UKPN.

UK Power Networks (UKPN) is installing new steel core transformers at substations that are set to help support decarbonisation.

The amorphous steel core transformers are high efficiency, with the distribution network operator (DNO) to replace around 15,000 transformers over time. This is set to save over 8,500MWh per year and result in a carbon saving of almost 2,200 tonnes annually, UKPN said.

The replacement programme is part of UKPN’s £500 million investment into the electricity network each year.

Over 50 of the transformers have been installed already as part of a collaborative trial, according to the DNO, with the new models to be used for the majority of new construction projects.

Paul Dyer, senior assets engineer for UKPN, said the transformers bring “significant environment benefits”, with the wider rollout to be an “important decarbonisation measure”

“This investment also helps reduce the energy that is usually lost while electricity is transported by 80%, and will play a key role in helping us cut carbon and deliver our Green Action Plan to improve local environments.”

The Green Action Plan outlines the DNO’s aims of minimising its impact on the environment and helping communities reach net zero in line with the national 2050 target.

As part of this, the Carbon Trust certified UKPN as having an absolute reduction of 6.6% in carbon emissions since 2016/17, which forms part of its overall reduction of 20.5% since its baseline of 2014/15.

UKPN has conducted a number of trials to improve its network, including the LoadShare trial that freed up 95MW of capacity through the use of Smart Wires technology.

It also installed what it claimed to be the world’s first Power Electronic Fault Limiting Circuit Breaker at a substation in Tower Hamlets, London, which it said makes it easier and cheaper to connect low carbon technologies.

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