Balfour Beatty installs composite pylons by helicopter in GB first

19 September 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

Balfour Beatty has installed composite pylons using a helicopter to connect a wind farm up to the grid in Moray, Scotland.

The connection to the Dorenell wind farm sees composite poles used for the first time on a transmission system in Great Britain.

They were deployed after local opposition to the use of conventional steel towers, as well as objections from local landowners to the use of the traditional alternative of twin trident overhead wooden poles due to the footprint they would have on their land.

The composite poles require a far smaller footprint and are less visually intrusive. Already used in Canada, the USA, Scandinavia and Ireland, they use a durable composite polymer instead of timber and can be recycled at the end of their life.

To install the 140 pre-constructed poles to a tight timescale, Balfour Beatty and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) used a specialist helicopter.

Andy Smith, operations director for Balfour Beatty’s Power Transmission and Distribution business in Scotland, added: “Working in collaboration with SSEN, Balfour Beatty identified and developed a truly innovative infrastructure solution that ensured the safe and efficient energisation of the Dorenell wind farm.

“The use of a specialist air crane helicopter and durable composite plastic poles, allowed the Balfour Beatty construction team to overcome the rugged terrain in North East Scotland whilst minimising disturbance to the environment and community.”

SSEN’s lead project manager, Paul Higginbotham, said: “The successful deployment of composite poles on our network is an exciting development which we will now be considering for future grid connections and network reinforcements.”

A video of the installation can be viewed here.

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