Deeside Centre for Innovation

We are delighted to offer customers access to our state-of-the-art testing facility, a 400kV modified substation, designed as a unique environment for development and trial of innovative technologies and practices.

The facility is located at Deeside in Northern Wales, and is the first of its kind in Europe where electricity network assets can be tested under real life conditions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facility provides a controlled test environment to collect valuable monitoring data to access life performance of a tested asset.

The Deeside project

The Deeside Project

Learn more about Europe's first off-grid, high voltage testing environment

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Deeside Centre for Innovation facilities are set up ready for you to trial and assess your new technological development before it goes into service on the network. This unique environment allows your designs to be validated under more realistic conditions than have been available ever before.

Your equipment can be tested at 4000 A and up to 600 kV outside of laboratory conditions, in an outdoor environment for extended periods of time – days, months or even years.

You can take advantage of our diverse set of test areas to apply stresses and ageing processes to your equipment – providing further proof of concept.

Our condition monitoring capabilities enable your equipment to be inspected safely. Failure modes and precursors to failure can also be tested using internal and external monitoring systems, allowing maintenance procedures to be developed and validated.

Our testing capabilities

Our high voltage and current as well as mechanical stress testing capabilities enable us to replicate transmission and distribution power systems – all in a real substation environment.

Real world environmental conditions: Not only does the Centre offers a harsh atmospheric environment to test under, it can provide an electrical and mechanical stress environment that closely matches live electricity transmission and distribution networks.

Installation and operation practices: Our environment enables practical installation and operations of the equipment to take place. This allows for greater confidence when rolling out new technologies in the field.

Multiple system testing: Tests can be performed between a combination of areas, or even across the whole facility.

Legacy compatibility testing: Our ex-service equipment allows new designs to be developed with interfacing legacy equipment, so any changes continue to work within existing systems.

Security guaranteed: We have secure, onsite condition monitoring equipment and communication systems across the site.

The facility

Deeside Centre for Innovation is spread across 19 acres and includes a substation and overhead line test areas, workshops, storage space and offices. Each of the test areas can operate independently or can be combined with other areas to suit any testing requirements.

Overhead lines: Our overhead lines testing facilities comprise a full scale, 200m span between two lattice towers, a bespoke test facility for testing of conductors and insulators. This enables insulators and conductors to be trialled in a live environment before being used on the network. You can also trial thermal imaging, built-in surveillance, and robotic monitoring.

Civil infrastructure: The Centre has a range of structures and foundations commonly found within substations, allowing the equipment under test to be mounted on realistic structures. Mechanical and electrical ageing tests can provide detail on assets life and how to optimise their design.

Protection and control: The control room provides oversight of the facility and allows power to be routed where required, allowing multiple tests to run across the site simultaneously. Relay settings, fault conditions, communication protocols and new P&C equipment testing can all be performed in a real substation environment.

Switchgear: Switchgear at the Centre enables the circuits across the site to be safely isolated, either for practise planned work or unplanned system faults, while maintaining the rest of the facility operational. At the Centre you can test new switchgear technology and improved operational procedures before they are implemented on the live grid.

Transformers: New transformer designs, bushings and terminations, oil types and cooling systems can all be tested. The onsite safety equipment ensures testing can be performed, without damaging the surrounding environment. Condition monitoring techniques can also be verified in order to ensure transformers can be effectively maintained and monitored and kept healthier for longer.

Offices and workshops: Office spaces allow access to the National Grid information services, providing a working environment for test engineers and a place to analyse the outputs of the testing programs. Customers can also use facilities provided while present on site.

Gas insulated switchgear and lines: Our facilities enable new switchgear types to be tested in the substation environment. Alternatives to Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6), an insulating gas, can be tested and retro fill techniques can be practiced in a safe environment, with no risk to affect a consumer supply.


Want to find out how your project could be tested at our Innovation Centre?

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We're here to help and advise you on your projects. To find out more or to make a booking, call us on 0800 783 9228 during office hours or use our contact form.