Sandford substation takes shape

The heart of the Hinkley Connection

Located in the centre of our project and set to connect high-voltage energy from Hinkley Point C, as well as other sources, to the local distribution network, Sandford substation – due for completion by the end of 2023 – will be in the heart of the Hinkley Connection.

Construction of the substation will reinforce the security of energy supply in the South West region after the removal of the existing Western Power Distribution (WPD) route. In place of the existing WPD route, the new T-pylons will connect Hinkley Point C power station to the grid, via Sandford substation.

Transforming the site

The substation itself covers an area of 7192 m2 – equivalent to over nine football pitches. The earthworks required removal of 45,000 tonnes of soil, which will be recycled and reused on the project, reducing the need to ship tonnes of soil away from site.

Environmental measures

Long before the engineering teams moved in, we carried out thorough environmental surveys and put measures in place to protect local wildlife and habitats, including:

  • the installation of a permanent bat flyway, to provide a dark corridor adjacent to the substation

  • downward-facing lighting, to avoid disturbance to nocturnal species and nearby residents

  • large exclusion zones around nearby badger setts

  • the erection of Great Crested Newt fencing, to prevent protected species and wildlife from entering our construction areas and becoming trapped or injured.

As well as protecting wildlife and habitats during our works, we aim to enhance the area too. We’ve established a wildlife pond to provide habitat for a variety of invertebrates, planted 32 trees, 271 woodland structure plants and seeded almost 13,000m2 around the site.

Construction progress to date

Siemens, our contractor on the site, started work at beginning of April 2020 and they’ve come a long way in just nine months. They have:

  • completed the earthworks around the site and begun installing the drainage and foundations for the substation electrical equipment

  • diverted a rhyne that used to run across site

  • erected the 132kV control building and are now proceeding with internal fittings

  • constructed platforms to home the new supergrid transformers and other electrical equipment

  • constructed foundations and erected the steel frame for the 400kV control building

  • started building foundations for other 132kV electrical equipment and for 400kV gantries.

Community involvement

“We are excited about re-routing the popular Strawberry Line as part of the substation works and the benefits this will bring to the local community”, says Lead Project Manager Michael Painter. As part of our works, we’ll be taking the cycle path around the boundary of the substation to avoid busy Nye Road and make it safer for all users."

The site team from Siemens and their subcontractor, Bam Nuttall, have started a rolling collection for the local foodbank and Bam Nuttall is working with the St Monica Trust, which runs the Sandford Station Retirement Village, to upgrade its community shop.

In April and August 2021, the delivery of the two supergrid transformers mark major milestones in the Sandford substation construction – another step closer to reinforce the security of energy supply in the South West.

Bunds where the main electrical equipment will sit

Early earthworks  45,000 tonnes of soil was reused on site

Transformation - the site in January 2021

Sandford substation area before construction

Police escort the first supergrid transformer to site

The 178 tonne supergrid transformer travels to site