Imperial College London

We've got the power


The first of two electrical transformers for the new sub-station is brought on site on a lorry

The combined 100 tonnes of transformer and lorry make their way across campus towards the new sub-station beneath the Westway

The future of White City has arrived on the back of a lorry

At sunrise on a Sunday morning (8 December 2019) the first of two transformers for the new electrical substation which will power White City campus was delivered.

The second made the same understated arrival the following Sunday (15 December 2019).

This really is the future, as without the power they will provide the scale of development on the campus could not be supported by available power in the district network.

A new substation

Their delivery marks a milestone in the development of White City, and a project which has dominated the role of Head of Strategic Infrastructure, Roy Dickerson for seven years.

The need for a new substation was identified at the very outset of development of the White City campus. The strategic importance of sufficient power was an issue that was not only likely to significantly impact on the future development the campus, but also of concern to other organisations eager to undertake development in the area.

From early discussions with the District Network Operator, UK Power Networks (UKPN), it became clear that the necessary capacity was not available from the existing local electricity network; College did not want the lights to go out on neighbours in the area.

In September 2013, College accepted an initial offer from UKPN which included providing the necessary land to support the development of a 33 MVA district substation, thus securing capacity for the College and the whole of the White City area. The land that was selected to accommodate the substation is in an area that sits beneath the elevated section of the Westway as it passes over the campus.  

There then followed several years of technical and legal negotiations with UKPN regarding the development of the substation, and in addition, with Transport for London (TfL) to ensure that their interests in an asset as important as the Westway were fully protected.

A sense of satisfaction

Having finalised agreements with both UKPN and TfL, work began on site in February (2019) with power-on programmed for January 2021.

Special arrangements had to be made to support the combined circa 100 tonne weight of the delivery vehicle and transformers as they crossed the campus to their final location in the substation.       

Roy Dickerson said: "I was there on Sunday morning and it was with a huge sense of satisfaction and relief that I watched the transformer roll in on the lorry. As I watched I was able to reflect on the huge effort by the Imperial College team to achieve this. It has been many years of detailed planning and close collaboration with others including UKPN and TfL. The culmination of this will be achieving power on in just over a year’s time.”




Jan Carberry

Jan Carberry
Estates Division

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