Construction News

Wed September 22 2021

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Freedom's Poc-Mast speeds connection to the grid

12 Aug NG Bailey’s Freedom business has installed an innovative Point of Connection Mast – or Poc-Mast –for a 70MW solar farm for Scottish & Southern Electricity Network (SSEN).

The Poc-Mast installation at the Wiltshire solar park
The Poc-Mast installation at the Wiltshire solar park

Poc-Mast has been developed by Freedom to transform the way new connections to the high voltage electricity distribution network are delivered, making it safer, faster, easier, and cheaper.

The 213-acre solar farm at the former RAF Lyneham base in Wiltshire has been developed by SSEN with Ministry of Defence. The location, next to a wood, presented several challenges and it initially appeared that the permanent connection would require installation of a new pylon, diversion of an overhead line and removal of part of the woodland. Freedom’s Poc-Mast installation enabled a connection directly onto an existing tower without the need to disturb any of the surrounding woodland.

Each of the two Poc-Masts that were required were lifted into place in just six minutes, and the total installation took 10 working days. A new tower and diversion would have taken longer, required multiple outages on both circuits and cost significantly more, according to the contractor.

Poc-Mast was originally developed for a renewable energy project where a traditional connection into an electricity network was not possible. Since then, the method has received substantial investment and undergone extensive testing.

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Freedom says that a Poc-Mast installation takes less than 20 weeks from concept to construction, where traditional installations typically take six to 12 months. This can make the difference to whether a scheme is viable or not. Since the first installation, both 33kV and 132kV Poc-Masts have been installed at other locations including a data centre in the southeast.

Martin Buckland, managing director of Freedom Professional Services, said: “We developed Poc-Mast to offer an easier, quicker and more cost-effective option for energy projects to get connected to the network, so it’s pleasing to see our innovative product offering these benefits to SSEN as a distribution network operator, with minimum disruption to their network.”

SSEN head of connections Craig Gilroy confirmed: “The use of this innovative Poc-Mast system has enabled minimum disruption with maximum benefit to local customers through the power generated by the site.”

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