Improved designs of high voltage overhead lines enable increased transmission capacity, providing environmental and financial benefits

Impact: Environmental, Economic


Increasing renewable energy is necessary to meet UK and global carbon emission reduction targets. To connect renewable energy technologies into the energy network, the power capacity of existing electricity infrastructure must increase. University of Manchester research has developed models and methods that have: improved the selection of conductors; developed composite insulators; and improved understanding of the electrical and mechanical performance of conductors. Collectively, this has enabled new overhead line designs to be produced that increase power flow whilst reducing existing noise problems. Specifically:
- National Grid estimate knowledge generated has provided cost savings of approximately GBP11,000,000 to the UK energy network, and benefits valued in the millions of GBPs for North American energy transmission system operators;
- Design and testing support underpinned a new design (T-pylon) for a GBP214,000,000 overhead line to connect Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station to the National Grid. The reduced visual impact is valued between GBP12,000,000 and GBP39,000,000;
- The research has helped solve long-term noise issues on a Cheshire (UK) electricity line, providing immediate noise relief to the community;
- National Grid have secured GBP8,100,000 to further research the uprating of overhead lines.
Impact date1 Aug 201631 Jul 2020
Category of impactEnvironmental, Economic
Impact levelAdoption

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Energy
  • Manchester Urban Institute
  • Dalton Nuclear Institute
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute