Nine “pop-up” pylons have been purchased by SP Energy Networks to ensure the quick restoration of power should a transmission tower be damaged.
The network operator has invested £0.8m in the new technology as part of its Transmission Emergency Response System, which would see people’s electricity restored in a matter of days compared to months if a tower was to go down.
The “pop-up pylons” – which can be built to any height required - can be put in place while SP Energy Networks’ engineers work to repair or replace the permanent tower. The investment will ensure that the transmission network in central and southern Scotland, continues to deliver a secure and reliable service.
SP Energy Network’s suspension, tension or terminal towers, which can reach 64m in height, conduct electricity at a variety of high voltages through overhead wires.
While damage is rare, towers have been affected in the past by criminal behaviour as well as extreme weather. In 2013, storms brought down eight overhead towers and left thousands of people on Arran and the mainland without power. With a lack of adequate resources, more than 1,600 homes on the Isle of Arran and in Kintyre, Argyll and Bute, were left with no electricity for over a week.
Since 2000, SP Energy Networks has had to deal with damage to four towers: one had its steel bracings removed from the base; another collapsed after a nearby unplanned excavation; in another incident a car crashed into a tower; and a helicopter also crashed into a tower’s conductors.
The new Emergency Restoration System can help restore power in around a week. Each articulated tower can be easily transported and assembled in various configurations to support each situation.
The investment in the “pop up pylons” is part of SP Energy Network’s rolling resilience plans for its transmission network, to ensure it withstands winter storms.
Guy Jefferson, Customer Service Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “As extreme weather can hit our network in winter it is crucial that SP Energy Networks continues to provide customers with a secure and reliable service.
“Investing in the new Transmission Emergency Restoration System is just one measure we’ve taken to ensure people are reconnected to power faster than ever before. Should the worst happen, and vital power corridors be severed the ERS provides an option for rapid deployment in around a week. Whereas the construction of new towers would take over a month to restore the missing link.”
“SP Energy Networks is proud to be at the forefront of innovation to enhance the security of our network, enabling us to deliver the best service to our customers.”
SP Energy Networks owns and manages overhead and underground power lines in Southern and Central Scotland as well as Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire. For more information about SP Energy Networks and its services, visit: www.spenergynetworks.co.uk