Work starts on National Grid substation that will help power Sunderland’s new gigafactories

Work starts on National Grid substation that will help power Sunderland’s new gigafactories
  • New Hylton Castle substation is being built on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP)
  • Substation will connect new gigafactories on the park to the electricity transmission network
  • New connection will deliver energy equivalent to powering half a million homes for a day

National Grid is starting work on a new 275kV substation on IAMP to enable new gigafactories and other businesses on the site to plug directly into the electricity transmission network. IAMP is a scheme being brought forward thanks to a joint venture between Sunderland and South Tyneside Councils.

The Hylton Castle substation will provide a new grid connection for Nissan, AESC UK and Sunderland City Council’s ambitious EV36Zero electric vehicle hub at IAMP, which brings together EV manufacture, battery production and a renewable energy microgrid.

Once completed and energised in 2026, Hylton Castle substation will – with its three new 100-tonne supergrid transformers and advanced control systems – reinforce the network in the region and create electricity capacity on site equivalent to powering around half a million homes for a day.

National Grid recently re-routed a kilometre long stretch of pylons and overhead power line to run around the IAMP’s future perimeter, freeing up land for work on the substation and gigafactories to progress on schedule (see video).

Omexom and Taylor Woodrow (OTW) joint venture – part of the VINCI group – has been appointed the contractor to carry out the substation works, with site surveys already underway and construction activity due to start in June.

IAMP spans 150 hectares of land across both Sunderland and South Tyneside local authority areas, and is backed with £42m from the UK government through the Local Growth Fund and North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Alice Delahunty, president of National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Sunderland City Council, Nissan and AESC UK to help bring the EV36Zero hub and other IAMP developments to life with a new high voltage substation and grid connection at Hylton Castle.

“Plugging the site directly into our transmission network – the electricity superhighway that spans England and Wales – will deliver it a firm supply of power 24/7, and enable its operations that will support jobs and prosperity in the area for years to come.”

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “The creation of Nissan’s EV36Zero Hub will create and sustain many thousands of jobs for years to come, so this is a transformation project that is powered by partnership working. We’re pleased to see this work move forward.”

Jonathan Tew, chief executive of South Tyneside Council, said: “IAMP is a vitally important project which will support the growth of the UK manufacturing sector, this new grid connection will unlock enormous potential thanks to collaboration with National Grid and our colleagues at Sunderland City Council.”

Steve Galliers, project director at OTW, said: “This project is one of several that Omexom and Taylor Woodrow JV is delivering on behalf of National Grid. We are proud to be helping to build resilience in the UK’s energy provision and excited to play a part in one of the most important developments in the UK.”

National Grid connected 3GW of clean energy generation and several hundred megawatts of demand capacity to its electricity transmission network in the last year.

The connection of new demand sources such as gigafactories is expected to contribute to an increase in Britain’s overall annual electricity demand from industry of around 30% between now and 2035.

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