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Shropshire
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

£18m North Shropshire electricity network project enters next phase

SP Energy Networks is moving to the next phase of construction of its £18 million major reinforcement project in North Shropshire.

A new 21km wood pole overhead power line has been constructed from Oswestry to Wem
A new 21km wood pole overhead power line has been constructed from Oswestry to Wem

The project’s main construction works commenced in May and recently entered the next phase, to install the 132,000 volt underground cable in Henley Wood, Oswestry, and to upgrade the existing substation at Wem. This work is scheduled to be completed in December 2021.

The focus from May has been the construction of the new 21km wood pole overhead line from Oswestry to Wem. All 176 poles have now been constructed and the conductor has been installed on over 14km of the route. The remaining 7km remains on schedule to be installed by mid-October.

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The upgraded substation at Wem will feature a range of initiatives aimed at further enhancing the electricity network owner’s environmental performance. The project will trial solar power being used for the substation’s heating and lighting needs, along with rainwater harvesting for non-potable use and a surface water attenuation scheme aimed at reducing the risk of surface flooding on site.

In addition, SP Energy Networks is pioneering the use of a more environmentally friendly treatment for 132,000 volt wood poles. Under this trial 10% of the poles are treated with copper-oil rather than traditional creosote. Copper-oil is an advanced preservative for wood poles that is kinder to the environment and its production is less carbon intensive than other treatments. The copper-oil treated poles are  being used in areas of high-water tables and near water courses.

SP Energy Networks continues to be in regular dialogue with local communities and regularly provides updates to key stakeholders throughout the construction process to ensure that the project is delivered safely and efficiently.

Mark Sobczak, 132kV General Manager for SP Energy Networks’ SP Manweb licence area, said:

“We are delighted with the progress so far on this project in North Shropshire – our largest reinforcement project in England and Wales. This £18m investment will increase network resilience and enable future growth to support the decarbonisation of transport, heat and industry in the area.

“We are proud to be using modern, sustainable materials during the construction process which will reduce our carbon footprint, underlining our commitment to playing a prominent role in the green economic recovery and lead the way on the journey to Net Zero.”

SP Energy Networks owns and manages overhead and underground powerlines in Central and Southern Scotland as well as Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire.

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