As a market leader, WSP helps to power people’s lives by engineering robust power transmission and distribution network solutions, enhancing the quality of life and spurring economic growth in cities and communities around the globe.
Reliable, secure, accessible and robust power transmission and distribution systems are critical elements in the push to meet the growing global demand for electricity. Transmission and distribution systems provide a lifeline to rural and urban areas alike, bringing clear socioeconomic benefits to communities around the globe.
The bulk transfer of electrical energy — from generation of power plants to electrical substations to end users — requires an impeccable strategy and know-how. Our teams of specialist project managers, designers, engineers and environmental consultants provide vast knowledge and comprehensive expertise. We support clients in planning and implementing transmission and distribution networks that will perform efficiently over the long-term, as well as in strengthening the infrastructure needed to remedy any shortcomings. We know our clients need to improve power resilience in an era where extreme weather is becoming more common. Our professionals can leverage their extensive knowledge and experience to assess system vulnerabilities and develop designs that minimise the impact of climate-related events on power facilities and networks.
Supporting clients across the world
WSP has a long track record supporting utilities, contracting organisations, developers, owners and government agencies around the globe on transmission and distribution projects throughout the lifecycle. We respond to clients’ needs by harnessing our knowledge, technical leadership and project management skills, serving in diverse roles including as technical advisors, owner’s engineers, development engineers and lender’s engineers to solve complex transmission and distribution problems and produce innovative, high-quality, cost-effective solutions.
We’ve worked on every major element of power transmission and distribution network systems, including overhead power lines and towers, transformers and reactive compensation equipment, substations and switchyards, underground and submarine (undersea) cables, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) and extra high-voltage (EHV) networks, as well as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and distribution management systems (DMS).
Our projects span:
• site and route optioneering
• environmental feasibility studies and assessments
• environmental permitting and planning consent support
• grid connection support, civil and electrical engineering design
• smart grid development
• integrated power solutions
• scenario analysis for sustainable energy systems for new urban areas
• distribution from intermittent electricity production and renewable energy sources
• infrastructure development binding continents and facilitating intracontinental trade
In Africa, we advised on the 850 km long interconnector connecting Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin. As the environmental specialist on this project, we updated the power transmission line route study, implemented the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) and stakeholder engagement plan, as well as developed an environmental and social management plan (ESMP) and resettlement action plan (RAP) within the four countries. Our clients benefitted from the tools and methodologies we have developed and refined, including the ability to integrate environmental, social acceptability and biodiversity issues into the project design, and to develop RAPs that capture the complex realities of rural areas and are in compliance with the highest international standards.
High and extra high voltage substation design
As substations are an integral part of the transmission and distribution mix, we also have extensive experience in high and extra high voltage substation design. We specialise in planning and implementation, detailed design and construction support of substations, and procurement and project management of new substations and associated infrastructure. We advise on extensions or refurbishments of existing substations and transformer bund works.
Our expertise spans network studies, primary design, protection design, automation and control system design, primary and secondary plant design, earthing design, lighting and insulation coordination, full secondary design, engineering design coordination and project management, environmental impact assessments (EIAs), transport analysis, planning of electrical networks, architectural design services, and fire engineering.
Overhead lines and towers / overhead route design
When it comes to power lines and towers, we are at the forefront of overhead line engineering and design. We support front-end planning and environmental issues on proposed overhead line (OHL) schemes including permit applications, infrastructure and electrical systems planning, power facility design and infrastructure, and electrical networks and communication. We have undertaken a range of activities including feasibility studies, preparation of technical specifications, conceptual and detail design, review of technical submissions, project management, and supervision of construction. We also provide tower design and detailing services.
We can work with all of the common design codes, including BS, IEC, CENELEC, ASCE and VDE, and use PLS Tower and PLS-CADD industry-leading software as an integrated design and analysis tools, employing sophisticated three-dimensional terrain and engineering modelling to design and analyse all aspects of route selection and of steel latticed towers. Our expertise covers three core engineering design elements:
• Selection of the OHL route taking into account route topography, available locations for OHL towers, tower and insulator capacities, and cable clearances to topography
• Structural design of the towers and other supporting structures under operational and environmental loadings arising from the proposed OHL route
• Cable design and selection
We have completed a wide range of overhead power line projects throughout the world, covering all types of construction from low voltage distribution lines on wood poles to extra high-voltage transmission lines on steel towers.
A case in point is the Beauly-Denny Overhead Transmission Line project, one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects connecting renewable energy sources in the Highlands to the population in Central Scotland, which entailed the construction of 220 km of 400KV transmission line, including 600 new towers, and the dismantling of 815 existing towers. Working as the environmental consultant, WSP played a crucial role in planning process, environmental assessments, and construction management support.
We have also been involved in upgrading the power transmission capability of lines by the use of alternative replacement conductors, requiring studies to confirm the capabilities of structures and foundations.
Strong track record with proven experience
Continuity of service to our clients is of particular importance to us. We provide a wide range of services under framework and alliance agreements to several transmission and distribution network operators and to key clients worldwide. No matter how small or large the project, from megacities to the most remote locations, we have worked around the globe to meet the unique needs of our clients:
• We provided full client representation for the award-winning East West Interconnector, a 500 MW HVDC scheme linking the Irish and UK grids.
• In Kenya, we provided full owner’s engineer services, including network system and economic studies, for the first 400 kV transmission line project in North Africa, connecting Mombasa and Nairobi.
• WSP provided the EIA and environmental permitting for the construction of a 150 km of 100 MW DC undersea cable, a 110 kV on-shore transmission line and distribution substations to connect Åland Island with Finland by sea cable.
• Communities in the Cabo Delgado, a province in Mozambique, were connected to the national grid network. WSP provided services that included the design, supply, erection, and commissioning of a 110/33 kV 16MVa substation, 147 km of overhead lines, and 396 km of 33 kV sub-transmission lines, as well as 33/0.4/0.23 distribution transformers in all of the towns.
• WSP was responsible for the design of eight 34.5 kV and two 115 kV power lines, EIA, environmental licence approval, and construction supervision for the Cauca-Nariño Interconnection Project in rural Colombia that involved the construction of 523 km of power lines and nine power substations for electric interconnection, generated from hydropower and thermal sources, among nine municipalities in the Pacific region of Colombia.
• We have been advising Vattenfall Vindkraft AB on permit applications, EIAs, and the planning of infrastructure and electrical systems for a 20-40 MW wind-power facility in Sweden.