Another year closer to low carbon energy for millions

A look back on 2022 on the Hinkley Connection Project

It's been a momentous year for progressing the Hinkley Connection Project. We’d like to say thank you to all the communities for their patience as we move towards connecting over six million UK homes and businesses to homegrown, low carbon energy, supporting the UK's net zero and energy security ambitions.

Building new infrastructure

Pylon felling in Mendip Hills
A pylon being taken down in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

This year saw 48 of the world’s first T-pylons completed between Bridgwater and Loxton, with conductors 'strung' ready for energisation - a milestone showcased on ITV News. The 8.5 kilometres of 400kV underground cables under the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) were also installed.  The removal of the existing pylons running parallel to the cable route is set to leave this part of the AONB pylon free for the first time in almost 100 years.  Aden Precious, project manager, talks through our work in the Mendips in this short clip. 

In total 249 existing pylons stretching 67km in length will be removed from the project by 2024 and we are over half way there!

In the north of the Hinkley Connection route, we started the construction of 68 T-pylons between Sandford and Portbury, which will join a line of 27 lattice pylons in Avonmouth the first of which were also constructed this year.

In a major milestone for the project, Shurton substation was energised in June following three years in construction, enabled by completion of the first phase of Shurton Line Entries - a new configuration of 13 lattice pylons in the area. The substation will connect the first new nuclear power station in a generation to the UK electricity network once Hinkley Point C begins generation.

Series reactor delivery
Delivery of series reactor to Shurton substation.

The new 400kV Sandford substation is ready for energisation and we've constructed nine new lattice pylons and installed 700m of underground cable to connect the existing 132kv power line from Weston-super-Mare to the new substation in the Spring. 

Major civils work at Crooks Marsh near Seabank was also successfully carried out. This involved the delivery of 100,000 tonnes of stone from local quarries to raise the ground levels for the safe installation of new underground cables. The team has achieved fill depths varying from 1.5 to 4 metres.

Helping local communities

As well as delivering the new infrastructure to help the UK move closer to reaching our net zero ambitions, our Engineering Positive Futures programme has continued to invest in and support the communities we're working closest to.  The programme was recognised at the annual UK Social Mobility Awards, where National Grid won the community programme of the year.

In 2022, National Grid donated over £380,000 to support local causes which brought total funding from the Hinkley Connection Project to over £1 million awarded to more than 70 local initiatives.

School teacher in classroom
Teacher using visualisers at Sexey's School in Somerset.

Bristol based charity Life Cycle UK were given funding to help ex-prisoners become qualified bike mechanics and Banwell FC built female changing facilities to encourage more women into the game.

Our work with schools continued with over 1,500 pupils in the South West benefiting from Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) workshops designed to inspire the next generation of engineers. 

And the Hinkley Education Fund, whereby grants from National Grid fund the purchase of STEM equipment has now supported over 400,000 local pupils including those at Sexey's school who are enjoying using their new visualisers.

We marked the late Queen Elizabeth’s 70th year on the throne by donating hampers to local parishes. The hampers were raffled, raising over £1,000 for local causes.  

As part of our work to protect and enhance the local environment, we celebrated planting our 2000th tree, working with landowners along the route. 

In December we had the privilege of hosting the local heroes of the Avon Fire and Rescue Service on the Hinkley Connection Project.  This was a unique opportunity for the specialist rope rescue team to carry out a simulated 'at-height' rescue on a new, but not yet energised, pylon.

Last but not least, the feel good story of the year was that of the lost and injured polecat which our team found and rescued from one of our construction site. He was given a new home and a new name... ‘Hinkley’.