Case Studies

Hutton 400kV Thyristor Controlled Series Compensation


ABB selected Powell Engineering UK Ltd (PEL) to carry out the installation of their TCSC (thyristor controlled series compensation) equipment for Hutton substation in the first UK installation of its type.

This is a major FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission System) project by National Grid to boost the flow of electricity from Scotland to England. Working closely with ABB who in turn operate as part of National Grid’s Electricity Alliance Central (EAC), PEL have successfully installed the innovative and cutting edge design TCSC equipment at the Hutton 400 kV substation near Kendal in Cumbria.


This exciting project is part of National Grid’s strategy for the electricity transmission network to achieve the national target of 15% of the UK’s energy to be produced from renewable energy sources by 2020. This series compensation equipment improves power system stability and allows more power to be transferred through existing circuits. It uses thyristor control to increase the flow of power, mitigate SSR (subsynchronous resonance) and to ensure stability in the power supply grid system.


What we were Asked to Do


PEL were challenged with the reception, offloading and complete installation of the TSCS equipment together with associated cabling and fibre optic works.

An extremely demanding timescale required PEL to work closely with ABB and their EAC partners to meet overall project key milestones safely.

This required working alongside and simultaneously with the EAC civil engineering site team to avoid costly delays.

We were required to analyse and meticulously plan our operation.

PEL utilised innovating techniques to optimise operational performance in order to meet the overall project deadlines.

Key areas of equipment installation included busbars, surge arrestors, reactors, disconnectors, earth switches, voltage and current optical measurement, together with all associated insulators and equipment structures.

In addition, PEL supplied and installed all associated substation multicore field cabling to prefabricated relay rooms.


How we did it


Our success was a direct result of efficient operational planning and safety. This in turn delivered value to ABB.

PEL are committed to ever closer collaboration with its clients as this demonstrates efficiency and increased value through the supply chain.

A willingness to operate extended working and weekend working provided for acceleration when required. PEL provided a diverse skill set across the site operation from TCSC platform assembly with tandem crane lift erection and HV equipment installation through to pumping plant cooling system installation.

Where shortages or equipment problems were encountered, PEL where possible provided either a manufactured solution or procured items within extremely short timescales.

Some 27,000 man-hours were worked by PEL with no injury. This demonstrates our outstanding safety performance.

What Delivered the Success


The key elements which delivered success include early detailed operational planning with a structured operational team working closely together with all parties.

The combination of a proficient and dedicated Site Manager together with an experienced Site Supervisor proved invaluable in the ongoing success of the site team.

Maintaining a high morale and a commitment and determination to overcome difficulties delivered success.

We continued and developed a cooperative and professional relationship based on mutual trust and commitment with ABB.

PEL again demonstrated that we are prepared to do more than that ordinarily expected and have further strengthened our relationship with ABB for future opportunities in genuine partnership.


On Reflection


TCSC Equipment at Hutton comprised two identical three phase circuits namely Harker 1 and Harker 2. The experience of the installation of every element allowed PEL to refine their installation techniques for the second circuit. This clearly delivered operational efficiency as the works progressed.

The combined dedication from everyone at National Grid, ABB and Powell Engineering UK Ltd., delivered the first TCSC installation in the UK at Hutton safely and successfully.   


Phil Worrall – Project Manager


“Delivering value is the key to our ongoing success as part of the industry challenge of RIIO. We succeeded at Hutton through genuine team work, careful planning and the respect and cooperation of all involved. Our team maintained a positive attitude and a safe working culture.”