National Grid has finished building the first of 60 new pylons for the Richborough Connection project, a new 400kV overhead line between Richborough and Canterbury which will allow electricity to flow between the UK and Europe.
The new 20km line will connect Nemo Link, an electricity link between Herdersbrug near Bruges in Belgium and Richborough, near Sandwich into the high voltage electricity network. The interconnector will play a vital role in the UK's energy mix as the ability to import electricity is becoming increasingly important, given the current programme of power station closures and the target to end coal-fired generation by 2025.
Engineers from Murphy Ethel Joint Venture (MEJV), used over 5,000 steel parts and 66 bags of bolts to construct the pylon with the aid of a 150-tonne crane. The pylon stands 47m tall and weighs just over 25 tonnes.
Graham Dolamore, project director for National Grid said: "This is the first step in what is a significant project for Kent and for the UK as a whole. This is the first major new power line to be built in the county since the UK electricity transmission system was built in 1961 and it will play a vital role in helping us supply the electricity needed by homes across the county, the region and beyond."
John Murphy, CEO of Murphy, added: "We are extremely proud to be supporting National Grid in the successful delivery of this major piece of infrastructure. Our consistent delivery comes from planning and dependable project management. Our direct delivery model, enabled by great people and our better engineering capability, will allow us to find creative ways to solve problems alongside National Grid."
In addition to the new line, construction is also taking place at Canterbury North substation and Richborough substation, to install new equipment, upgrade the existing technology and extend the substation buildings, ready for the new connection.
The new overhead line will be ready to connect Nemo Link in late 2018 and the UK Power Networks' line will be taken down between 2019 and 2021.