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National Grid substation to power 1.5m homes

National Grid has commissioned a new substation in Dartford, Kent, enabling 2 gigawatts (GW) of low carbon and renewable energy to power around 1.5 million homes.

National Grid, along with contractors Balfour Beatty and GE Vernova’s Grid Solutions, have been constructing this replacement for the Littlebrook 400kV substation since June 2019.

The new facility will reduce the use of sulphur hexafluoride (SF₆), a gas commonly used in the electrical industry.

Construction is complete and all circuits have been commissioned.

The project includes innovative technology like GE Vernova Grid Solutions’ SF₆-free gas-insulated busbar equipment, saving 5.6 tonnes of SF₆ gas and contributing to National Grid’s goal of reducing SF₆ emissions by 50% by 2030.

The project also employs methods to minimise environmental impact, such as using British-made steel, solar-powered electrics and onsite wastewater management, resulting in a reduction of 5,229 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions during construction.

Laura Mulcahy, Senior Project Manager for National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “We’ve had to overcome some difficult engineering and programme challenges along the way, and so to reach this milestone is a real testament to the commitment and strong relationships of everyone involved. I send my sincere thanks out to them all.”

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