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Cooling tech could cut bills, says network operator

Electricity North West is trialling a range of cooling techniques at substations across the region as part of a £5.3 million plan to improve electrical efficiency.

Electricity North West is trialling a range of cooling techniques at substations across the region as part of a £5.3 million plan to improve electrical efficiency. 

The pioneering project, called Celsius, will trial different technologies at 100 substations across Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester. 

Techniques such as improved ventilation, heat extraction fans and alternative materials for filling cable trenches will cool down temperature to help get more out of substation equipment.

Engineers have already installed temperature monitors at 520 substations in the North West to understand how temperature affects equipment and how cooling can relate more power onto the network.

Findings from the project could influence the design of all substations in Great Britain. 

‘Co-ordinated cooling’

Steve Cox, engineering and technical director for Electricity North West, said: “Substations play a key role in the electricity network, linking up cables and changing voltage so that electricity is safe to use. Some of the substations in the trial operate at up to 11,000 volts which creates a lot of heat, even without the recent heatwave.

“By cooling them down in a co-ordinated way, we can make the electrical equipment in our substations more efficient and allow more power to flow through it. This means we can get more from the network we already have, release additional capacity and reduce long-term costs for customers.

“This project will help prepare the North West’s electricity network for a low carbon future and the increase of electric vehicles, solar panels and much more.”