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Poor energy infrastructure may delay Battersea scheme

The massive £8bn redevelopment of Battersea Power Station is facing delays because of a chronic lack of energy infrastructure.

Site developer Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC) said its project was at risk because it simply cannot get sufficient energy supplies to the site to power construction activities.
Speaking at the London Infrastructure Summit yesterday, BPSDC technical director Gary Edwards said “a complete refresh” was needed for utility infrastructure in the Capital

“The key issue in my area is a lack of power,” he said. “We have no power to develop, even to the point where construction activities are at risk as we don’t have enough power available from [nearby] substations.

“We need a new substation,” he said.

London energy supplier UK Power Networks said it was aware of the problem and that it had plans in place to upgrade capacity in the area.

“We have a challenge on how we meet the power demand in the Vauxhall and Nine Elms Development Area,” UK Power Networks asset management director Barry Hatton told the Summit.
Hatton added that plans were in place to install an additional 240 megavolt amperes (MVA) of capacity at its Wimbledon substation, the nearest to the Nine Elms development area. But this capacity is not planned to be in place until 2018.

Ground engineering work is already underway on the first phase of construction at Battersea, which will see two residential developments built adjacent to the iconic power station.

Construction of the concrete frames is scheduled to begin this summer with internal fit out starting next spring.

UK Power Networks has plans to install a total of 100MVA extra energy capacity, but Edwards said it needed to happen faster. “It is a serious issue,” he said.

Hatton and Edwards were speaking alongside Mace energy and utilities director Andy Sharples at a panel debate on creating climate resilient infrastructure.

Sharples said the Battersea situation typified the problems that were being caused by the lack of prioritisation in the government’s National Infrastructure Plan.

“Most of you will have seen the National Infrastructure Plan,” he said. “But currently it is a pipeline, a spreadsheet, a list. We have got to prioritise.”

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