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IET publishes HV power transmission study

31 January 2012

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has published a comprehensive study on the whole life costs of installing new high voltage transmission lines under the ground, under the sea and over ground. The study was undertaken at the government’s request in order to provide an authoritative and independent point of reference for the Infrastructure Planning Commission in evaluating planning applications for new transmission connections and reinforcements.

Research and production of the study has been carried out by international engineering consultancy Parsons Brinckerhoff, in association with Cable Consulting International. It draws on a broad range of data from manufacturers, installers, operators and other parties.  National Grid has funded the work, and the IET has provided independent quality assurance.

Main findings are as follows:
- the cost of new power infrastructure varies considerably but installing new power circuits underground is always more expensive than installing overhead lines
- the study also identifies factors that have an impact on costs - such as terrain, distances and energy loss
- the study’s remit purely relates to engineering costs, although it does acknowledge the aesthetic, human and environmental impacts, it makes no analysis of these areas

Over the coming years major transmission reinforcements will be needed to connect Britain’s new power stations. Many people are concerned about the impact that new transmission lines can have on the landscape and on local communities, and it is deemed essential that these reinforcements are taken forward on the basis of informed discussion and the best available knowledge. The government has welcomed the study, which it believes will provide a well-informed and objective baseline when considering the costs and impacts of different transmission line methods.

Copies of the study have been placed in Libraries of the House and can be obtained from the IET website

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