The advent of new technologies such as electric cars and heat pumps is rapidly changing the UK's demand for electricity. Much of the current distribution infrastructure was created in the 20th century and was designed with a very different usage pattern in mind. Increases in demand can cause problems including the overheating of assets such as transformers in substations. This is in turn can lead to reduced lifetimes and, potentially, catastrophic fire damage.
As demands on the network increase and move from peaks and troughs to round-the-clock, electricity distributors need to ensure that their infrastructure is robust and reliable.
The work identified that reducing solar heating and increasing the amount of ventilation would improve the thermally-driven air flow within various types of substation buildings. ENWL has altered some of its substations in line with these recommendations, as part of a retrofitting campaign, and will continue to follow them for any new build projects. The project is currently gathering data to demonstrate the improved performance.