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Powering a renaissance at Battersea’s iconic Power Station

A major milestone has been reached in a £42 million project to bring new electricity supplies into the heart of the Battersea Power Station development.

From Press releases - 26 April 2017 12:00 AM

Maggie photo.jpg

Electricity tunnel boring machine, ‘Maggie’, has completed the 11-week construction of a 320-metre-long spur tunnel to carry essential electricity supplies to the £9 billion, 42-acre development taking shape on the banks of the River Thames.

Led by the UK’s biggest electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, work to power the Battersea Power Station development has been jointly funded by the electricity company and the developer.

Gary Edwards, Technical Director at Battersea Power Station Development Company, said: “The new substation that is currently being built by UK Power Networks will ensure a reliable and efficient electricity source is provided to all of Battersea Power Station’s commercial tenants and residents once they have moved in. UK Power Networks and their delivery partners are doing a great job and we are looking forward to seeing the Power Station light up once again when it opens to the public in 2020.”

Nirmal Kotecha, Director of Capital Programme and procurement at UK Power Networks, said: “We are immensely proud of the role we are playing in delivering the electricity infrastructure needed to rejuvenate a landmark building and the surrounding area of former industrial land.

“This project will deliver essential new electricity supplies that will breathe new life into a once-derelict part of London. We will be providing reliable electricity supplies for a mini town of new homes, offices, hotels and restaurants, with the Power Station at its heart.”

A new electricity substation is being built which will help distribute power to homes and businesses across the new neighbourhood.

The machine - named by pupils from the local Oasis Academy secondary school after the prominent English space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock - has now returned to the earth’s surface.

It took miners 11 weeks to build the tunnel through London clay, some 20-metres below ground. A temporary railway took spoil back to the surface where it was used for land reclamation, rather than going to landfill. The new equipment is due to go live by the end of 2018.

UK Power Networks is building the new infrastructure with their Alliance Delivery Partners Clancy Docwra and Amec Foster Wheeler, Alliance contractors designers COWI UK Ltd, and tunnelling experts Joseph Gallagher.

Battersea Power Station stopped generating electricity in 1983 and the honour of restoring power supplies to the development sprouting up around London’s famous chimneys is not lost on the electrical engineers working behind the scenes on the electrical engineering project.

James Belcher, Senior Project Manager at UK Power Networks, said: “It is a privilege to build the electricity network that will power the former station and surrounding development. We are proud to play a role in a project that will enable part of our industrial heritage to take pride of place in the capital.”

Battersea tunnel fact file:
• Maggie was manufactured by The Tunnel Engineering Services, Oldham
• The machine weighs 50 tonnes and burrows at about 16-metres per day
• It arrived in Battersea in January in sections and was assembled underground
• Eight miners worked shifts underground with an engineer and colleagues at the surface
• The tunnel shaft is seven metres wide and 22-metres deep
• 300 concrete rings line the interior of the tunnel
• The tunnel will carry two 132,000-volt electricity circuits