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Building new infrastructure

We invest billions in our energy infrastructure, the pipes and wires that keep the heat flowing and the lights on.

Our work is critical to the regions we serve in the UK and the US, building and maintaining secure energy networks, safely and efficiently. We need to ensure that our infrastructure can meet the changing needs of the coming decades, through our Connect 21 programme in the US, and the increasingly interconnected energy resources of the UK.

We are legally obliged to connect energy generators to our gas and electricity transmission grids, and this infrastructure will often have a very visible impact on the communities we serve, whether as short term construction works, or permanent physical installations.

We believe that we can only move forward through consultation, involving the widest range of stakeholders, always working to maintain good community relations (the efficient completion of our projects often depends on this co-operation). We start this process before securing planning consent.

We seek to make the right decisions about the routes we take for new construction and diversion work. We also use the equipment that will best minimise any disruption. We must consider cost and technical factors, but we also take into account views on the environment, historical interest, the local economy and any other impact our projects may have. We make sure that the decisions we reach are transparent, honest and properly informed by discussion with all interested groups.
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Underground vs overhead report

In England and Wales much of the new power generation capacity is on coasts or offshore, in places where there is no connection infrastructure. We need to construct new lines. There’s no doubt that overhead pylons incur the lowest costs for electricity transmission, but we must also consider the visual impact on the landscapes those pylons run through. Depending on geology it is often possible to bury electricity cables (called “undergrounding” in the business), but that decision demands a balancing of competing factors, including cost.

We treat each project case by case, underlined by a common set of principles. These entail:  

  • consulting widely, effectively, and at a formative stage of our project proposals 
  • being open with information and transparent about the judgements we make 
  • developing proposals that deliver what society needs from us.

In 2012 we published a full account of our approach. You can download it as a PDF here.