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Gallery | £1bn London Power Tunnels project opens

A £1bn energy superhighway with 32km of tunnels carrying 200km of electricity cables across London has opened after seven years of construction.

National Grid’s London Power Tunnels run across the capital from Hackney in east London to Willesden in the west, and from Kensal Green in the north west to Wimbledon in the south. Two new substations were also built as part of the scheme. 

The ten new 400kV transmission circuits inside the tunnels will initially carry up to 20% of the electricity needed in London and more when older parts of the electricity network, built in the 1950s, are decommissioned.

Institution of Mechanical Engineers head of engineering Dr Jenifer Baxter said: “The National Grid’s project to modernise the capital’s electricity transmission network is an important step towards managing the evolving needs of electricity generation and demand. 

“Media attention on significant projects of this scale has often been directed towards Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel but this is an equally important scheme.

“The project brings together different engineering disciplines involved in the construction of the tunnels and the new transmission network and showcases the fantastic work of UK engineers.”

Business and energy secretary Greg Clark said: “The £1bn London Power Tunnels is exactly the type of investment and innovative infrastructure project that the Government wants to encourage through our modern industrial strategy.”

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall officially opened the project this week during a visit to the new Highbury substation. 

National Grid chief executive John Pettigrew said: “We are delighted to have been able to show the Prince of Wales how this £1bn project has enabled us to rewire London to make sure the capital and those living in it have the electricity they need to rise to the challenges of the 21st century.”

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