POC-MAST boosts renewable energy sector

With renewable energy accounting for almost half of the UK’s electricity generation*, there’s never been a more vital time to support the green sector across the UK.

With this in mind, NG Bailey’s Freedom business has developed a new innovation to help renewable energy projects make vital connections to high voltage electricity distribution networks.

The Point of Connection Mast – POC-MAST – is transforming the way connections are delivered, dramatically reducing the costs and amount of time needed for renewable energy projects to make a connection.

Developed by Freedom’s in-house experts, POC-MAST can make the difference as to whether a renewable energy project is viable or not.

Martin Buckland, Managing Director of Freedom Professional Services, explained: “We’ve been providing connection services for many years and recognised that the increasingly diverse nature of power generation was creating a greater demand for quicker and more cost-effective connections into the distribution networks.

“It’s an exciting time for the green market and by speeding up and reducing the costs of new connections, we hope POC-MAST will open the door for more renewable energy projects to get connected.

“Technologies such as renewable hydrogen, wind, solar and battery storage are growing exponentially, and we believe POC-MAST can help the operators behind these important solutions make them commercially viable through cost and time savings, in turn delivering positive wider environmental impacts.”

Traditional methods for connecting to an existing line usually require a new junction tower or extensive modifications to an existing tower. This involves taking the line out of service, and in some cases using a temporary circuit diversion. Such modifications cause disruption to the network for many weeks and can only be carried out at certain times of the year.

Martin added: “POC-MAST was borne out of a desire to make this more affordable and quicker; it also offers the potential to deliver connections all year round. With POC-MAST, the need for a new tower or extensive tower modifications and diversion is removed; ultimately POC-MAST is a standalone structure that creates a faster connection to the network with very limited power outages.”

Freedom has invested more than £500,000 developing and testing POC-MAST. It is available for connections up to 132kV to the most widely used tension and suspension towers on the UK distribution network.

The product has undergone full-scale testing at the Eucomsa test centre in Spain witnessed by representatives from UK Power Networks, Northern Powergrid and other network operators.

For the renewable energy operator, key benefits of the POC-MAST include a reduced need to work at height, no deep excavations for building, less than 20 weeks concept to completion project timeframe, reduced circuit outage times for installation, and low maintenance.

Three commercial POC-MAST installations have already taken place within the UK Power Networks region which covers the East, South East and London.